A federal bill aimed at reforming Canada’s divorce law should take pressure off the courts if it’s passed, according to a long-time family lawyer based in Regina.
Brad Hunter, a lawyer with Hunter Deagle LLP, said he’s still going over Bill C-78, a 133-page piece of legislation introduced in Parliament this week by the Liberal government.
Speaking Wednesday on Gormley, he said his reading of the bill so far has found measures that should keep more family law cases out of the courts.
Hunter said C-78 would make it simpler to sort out when a parent with shared custody can move with their child.
“If parents have 50-50 custody, (C-78) makes moving very difficult. If one parent has primary care, it will make that easier for them,” he explained.
He said this would be a contrast to the way the issue is handled now.
“It’s been a bit of a free-for-all. The courts have struggled with coming up with what are the proper rules.”
Hunter said C-78’s proposed changes to how child support payments get adjusted would also free up more court time.
In many cases, C-78 would make such adjustments automatic, based on tax returns of the person either paying or receiving child support.
The bill would also open the way to allowing a government entity, such as a provincial Maintenance Enforcement Office, to obtain tax records
“So let’s say a mother wouldn’t provide her tax return to adjust support. It may be possible under this law that the Maintenance Enforcement Office could go directly to the (Canada Revenue Agency) and ask for that information and get it,” Hunter said.
Hunter said the bill also includes a requirement for couples to consider mediation or other, similar processes before bringing their divorce to court.
“It may allow judges to force people to go to things like mediation and collaborative law, so they’re pushing that, which I thing is a good idea.”