Canadian Lawyer

November 2020

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32 LEGAL REPORT FAMILY LAW behaviour, financial abuse, psychological abuse and harming family pets. Currently in Saskatchewan, it is difficult for a parent to relocate from one area to order in place, Mennie adds. "[T]he question of a 'jurisdictional bar' on historical child support sought by orig- inal orders under the Divorce Act is ripe for reconsideration," Justice Sheilah Martin wrote in concurring reasons. "However, given that reconsidering this issue is unnecessary to resolve this appeal, I leave its determina- tion to a more appropriate case." This will likely be the next legal question in the area of child support, says Mennie, to be brought forward in another case to another appellate court. "If it's an original order brought when the child is independent, do the courts have juris- diction? That's an open question, I think." Divorce Act Amendments to the Divorce Act were meant to come into effect on July 1, but they were delayed until March 1 owing to the extraor- dinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. They will mark the first overhaul to the act since 1985 and give special atten- tion to the best interests of the child. The Department of Justice defines its legislative objectives for the act as including: • Promoting the best interests of the child • Changing parenting terminology to replace emotionally charged language such as "custody" and "access" with "parenting orders" and concepts of "parenting time" and "decision-making responsibility" • Creating a new framework for changes of residence and relocation • Addressing family violence "As a practitioner, it's positive to see that family violence is included in there, because we've never comfortably been able to address how [family violence affects] kids," says Boucher, adding that family violence "is very expansively defined." This includes phys- ical and emotional, coercive and controlling FOUR PRINCIPLES OF CHILDREN'S RIGHTS Non-discrimination means all children have the same right to develop their potential The best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in all decisions concerning a child The right to survival and development includes access to basic services and equality of opportunity The views of the child must be heard and respected in all matters concerning their rights Source: Children's Rights Alliance

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