Better Protection For Children In Custody Cases
McGuinty Government Brings Family Justice Reforms Into Effect
More detailed information will now be provided in custody and access court cases before decisions are made, better protecting children in times of family breakdown and distress.
Today, new provisions under the Family Statute Law Amendment Act, 2009, will come into effect. For children and families involved in custody and access cases the changes will:
- Require more detailed information for judges to consider when determining the best interests of the child, such as parenting affidavits, police record checks and children's aid society record reports
- Protect children by helping to ensure any information about a non-parent's violent history is before the court when making decisions to grant custody
- Reduce family court battles and help children receive fair levels of child support by requiring annual disclosure of financial information relating to child support payments.
In addition, Ontario is taking other important steps to strengthen and improve access to justice by working with local family courts to:
- Provide families with more information up-front about the steps they need to take and the impact on children when a relationship breaks down
- Provide greater access to legal advice and alternatives to litigation
- Introduce a triage process that directs clients to appropriate services
- Streamline and simplify the steps involved for those cases that must go to court.
- As of March 1, 2010, every person applying for custody of, or access to a child is required to complete a parenting affidavit that sets out all of the facts and circumstances that relate to the child's best interests. This includes how they propose to care for the child.
- Non-parents applying for custody will be required to provide a police records check and a children's aid society record report as part of their application effective March 1, 2010.
- A parent whose name was left off their child's birth certificate will be able to apply to a court to have their surname added to the child's surname when the court grants a declaration of parentage.
“Families need a justice system that supports them and their children. We are changing the family justice approach so that it is less confrontational, faster and more affordable for the people it serves.”