Bill aims to reduce court appearances, ensure N.B.’s family law regime consistent with Divorce Act
New Brunswick has introduced new family law legislation that establishes a provincial recalculation service for child support orders.
Bill 7 (An Act Respecting the Family Law Act), which had its first reading on Nov. 18, provides a way to adjust child support orders to reflect changes in income without needing to appear in court.
The new provincial service will simplify the process for recalculating child support orders and would reduce the costs of the involved persons and the burden on the resources of courts, said Hugh Flemming, New Brunswick’s justice and public safety minister, in the news release. Parties may avail themselves of this service once the new legislation comes into force.
Section 1 of the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act has been amended by Bill 7 to include a new definition of a support order. The new definition includes an administrative body’s recalculation of the support payment, if such recalculation is enforceable in the jurisdiction where it was made, as if the recalculation was contained in a court order from that jurisdiction.
Section 1 of the Support Enforcement Act has likewise been amended to include a new definition of a support order. If a child support service has issued a decision pursuant to s. 38 of the Family Law Act that sets out a recalculated child support amount, then the support order will be included in the new definition, as amended by Bill 7.
Bill 7 also introduces legislative amendments aiming to ensure that the provincial family law legislation is consistent with the recent changes to the Divorce Act, RSC 1985, c 3 (2nd Supp).
“Family law is a shared responsibility between the federal and provincial governments and we are taking advantage of the changes introduced in Bill C-78 to improve our family law process and to provide more support to those who are going through these difficult situations,” Flemming said.
Under Bill 7 the concepts of parenting time and decision-making responsibility and the terms “parenting order” and “contact order” have replaced the custody and access terminology. The bill also adds requirements for the relocation of children and for counsel to advise their clients about alternative options for dispute resolution.
In addition, the bill introduces changes regarding criteria for the child’s best interests, family violence and First Nations families.