Divorce Act

What does it do?

Divorce Act changes are being brought by Bill C-78 "An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act."

The new divorce amendment act makes changes to certain aspects of the divorce process, bringing it more in line with what’s already present in many provincial statutes. It makes major changes to the divorce act for the first time since the child support guidelines were introduced in 1997. Some things that are changing include alterations to parenting after separation, including parenting orders and contact orders, moves, including a test around the circumstances of a move and the introduction of new language for discussing certain aspects of divorce.

“The other parts of the Divorce Act, the parts about divorce, foreign divorce orders, and making and changing orders about child support and spousal support when spouses live in the same province or territory, haven't changed at all.”

- JP Boyd, on what hasn’t changed

There are new Provincial Court Family Rules in BC Reg 120/2020.  These rules come into force on May 17, 2021.

Once these rules come into force you can track changes made to them on Courthouse Libraries BC’s court rules amendments tracking page.

Subsections 105(1), 106(2), 111(2) to (4) and 115(3) and (5) came into force Dec 4, 2020 by PC 2020-983

Subsections 1(1) to (4), (6) and (7), sections 2 to 6 and 8 to 15, subsection 16(2), sections 17 to 19, 21, 22 and 23 to 25, subsection 28(3) and sections of 32 to 35 come into force March 1, 2021 by PC 2019-1143, as amended by BC 2020-407

Subsections 73(2) to (6), section 74 and subsection 76(3) come into force Nov 12, 2021 by PC 2020-983

Further proclamations can be tracked on CLBC’s Canada Proclamations page.

There is one new regulation - SOR/2020-250 Provincial Child Support Service Regulations.  This regulation comes into force March 1, 2021.

Other regulations under the Divorce Act remain in force.  They are listed at the bottom of the act’s table of contents.

All readings can be viewed on LegisInfo.

Some Supreme Court forms have changed - F3 - Notice of Family Claim, F4 - Response to Family Claim & F5 - Counterclaim.  A summary of updates is available on the BC Government website.

The Provincial Court Family Rules have transitional provisions for the new rules coming May 17th (BC Reg 236/2020)

An Act to amend the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act and to make consequential amendments to another Act act is cited as:

  • S.C. 2019, c. 16

The Divorce Act citation remains the same since it being amended not revised: 

  • R.S.C., 1985, c. 3 (2nd Supp.)

Updated February 26, 2021