Seperation Support: Nova Scotia amends laws to strengthen family justice

The Nova Scotia government is unveiling a new support act which will bring financial support to families undergoing separation in that Atlantic Province.

The act is supposed to "harmonize" the federal and provincial laws that support access to justice, says the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of that province, Brad Johns.

Earlier this week, his office penned a press release which claims the improvements will help support the best interests of children. Particularly, these amendments will affect the Parenting And Support Act.

These amendments all come into place on April Fool's Day. According to the press release, the changes are aligned with larger federal amendments which have taken place recently in the Divorce Act and the provincial Parenting and Support Act. It's a widespread change taking place within the laws of this particular area.

"The revised guidelines will help families better navigate the family justice system," says the ministry.

The ministry has released a five-bullet point list of reasons why this is a good idea:

  • update language in the act to support positive parenting arrangements by replacing the word “custody” with terms such as “parenting time” and “decision-making responsibility”
  • make it clear that the day-to-day decision-making responsibility rests with the person who is exercising parenting time, unless a court orders otherwise
  • describe the duties of parents who have a matter before the courts, including the duty to protect their children from the harmful effects of conflict
  • help make sure judges have the information they need to make decisions about parenting arrangements and require them to consider any civil or criminal proceeding, order, condition or measure that is relevant to the safety of the child; this will help courts deal with family violence issues more clearly and better protect children
  • clarify the legal process when a parent wants to relocate with their child, ensuring the best interests of the child is the main consideration.