Bill 207 Aims to Simplify Family Law System

Province Taking Additional Steps to Streamline the Family Law Process

In addition to the changes proposed by the Act, Ontario is taking steps to remove the requirement for family arbitrators to file arbitration award reports with the Ministry in an effort to save time and money.

Further, the province is working with the courts on a plan to expand the Dispute Resolution Officer program to Kitchener and Welland. These officers are senior family lawyers appointed by the Superior Court of Justice who work with families and guardians to clarify the issues in contention and help them work towards a settlement. They primarily hear first case conferences when a parent or guardian wants to vary an existing order.

Dispute Resolution Officer programs provide litigants in family proceedings an early case evaluation by a neutral third party. They often help to narrow the disputed issues and facilitate full or partial settlement. The program currently operates in nine Superior Court of Justice and Unified Family Court locations in Ontario. Our partner, Oren Weinberg[8], is a Dispute Resolution Officer in the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto and Newmarket.

Ontario Bar Association Commends Changes and Makes Recommendations

The Ontario Bar Association (OBA), in a submission[9] dated October 13th, commended the Attorney General for recognizing the need for consistency in the legislation. The organization echoed the need for modernization of the language and clarity with respect to the best interests of children. The OBA did suggest two amendments to the Bill, as follows:

  1. Amending the definition of “child” under the Children’s Law Reform Act to be consistent with the Family Law Act and the federal Divorce Act to include not only minor children, but also those who are unable to live independently of their parents care due to illness, disability or another reason.
  2. Broaden the language proposed for s. 47 of the Family Law Act, which permits an application for support to stand over pending a decision with respect to parenting matters. Currently, the Bill suggests replacing “an application for custody” with “an application for a parenting order respecting decision-making ability”. The OBA suggests that this wording is too limiting, as it does not consider an application for parenting time. Instead, the OBA suggests simply, “an application for a parenting order”.

For Assistance with Parenting and Support Disputes, Contact Boulby Weinberg LLP in Toronto

For advice on family law issues including parenting disputes, support awards and litigation, contact the offices of Toronto family law lawyers Boulby Weinberg LLP. Our experienced team focuses exclusively on Ontario family law for clients based locally and internationally. To arrange a consultation, please complete our confidential online questionnaire, which will provide you with valuable preliminary information tailored to your situation. A representative from our firm will contact you within one business day to discuss your matter further and arrange an initial meeting. To contact our firm without completing the questionnaire, please reach out to us online, or call us at 647-494-0113 ext. 102.[10][11][12]

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