FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is seeking input on adopting into provincial family law key concepts recently changed in the federal Divorce Act which comes into force in 2020.

The New Brunswick Family Services Act governs family relations including child protection, adult protection, spousal and child support, custody and access. This consultation is focused on key concepts found in Part VII of the act which contain 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 federal amendments include various measures intended to promote the best interests of the child. These amendments include, among other things, elimination of custody and access terminology; introduction of provisions to deal with relocation of parties to a parenting order; the introduction of 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 should be reflected in provincial legislation. The Department of Justice and Office of the Attorney General has launched a discussion paper that covers key elements of the 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.

The department can accommodate special needs for individuals facing challenges that would prevent them from preparing a brief or completing the questionnaire. Briefs and comments may be submitted to familylawreform@gnb.ca or by mail to: Family Law Reform Discussion Paper, Policy and Planning Branch, Department of Justice and Office of the Attorney General, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton NB E3B 5H1.

The discussion paper Family Law Reform is available online.