Consultation on family law reform related to amendments to the federal Divorce Act

New Brunswick Government

The province is seeking input on adopting into provincial family law key concepts that were recently changed in the federal Divorce Act, coming into force in 2020.

A release states the New Brunswick Family Services Act governs family relations, including child protection, adult protection, spousal and child support, custody and access.

This consultation is focusing on key concepts pertaining to the legal rights and responsibilities of parents and spouses in New Brunswick.

"Provincial family law has remained largely unchanged since its introduction in the early 1980s," said Justice Minister and Attorney General Andrea Anderson-Mason. "Since then, various Canadian jurisdictions have updated and overhauled their respective family law legislation and the federal government is amending its Divorce Act."

The province says the federal amendments include measures intended to put a child's best interests first and would eliminate custody and access terminology, introduce provisions to deal with relocation of parties to a parenting order and best interest of the child criteria and provisions to better address situations of intimate partner violence in the context of divorce, custody and access cases.

New Brunswickers are invited to share their views on how these changes could be reflected in provincial legislation, and the province has launched a discussion paper covering key elements of provincial legislation that could be impacted by the federal amendments:
- Best Interests of the Child Criteria
- Custody and Access
- Parenting Arrangements and Parenting Plans
- Change of Residence / Relocation
- Family Violence
- Duties of Parties and Duties of Lawyers

To participate in the consultation process, New Brunswickers may submit a written brief or complete a questionnaire included in the discussion paper. 

The deadline for submissions is Friday, Nov. 15.