Changes to the Divorce Act

  • Recorded on: February 23, 2021

  • Length: 60 minutes


As of March 1, 2021, Canada’s Divorce Act saw its most substantial changes in 35 years. John-Paul Boyd, KC walks you through the key changes and answers questions about how those changes affect you.  


In this webinar, you will learn:

  • How changes in the Divorce Act reflect updated societal views about the best interests of children that align more closely with provincial family laws. [4:05]

  • What major changes are being made, including new language, new rules about relocation, and new duties for parents, lawyers and judges. [5:50]

  • What is not changing, including the rules about spousal support, separation, child support, and dividing property. [10:45]

  • Who is affected by changes to the Divorce Act. [11:40]

  • How parenting after separation is affected by changes to the Divorce Act and how new language is used to reflect those changes. [13:05]

  • The factors to be considered in deciding what is in the best interests of children, including family violence. [17:40]

  • The process that must be followed if a separated parent wants to relocate and that relocation would affect relationships their child has with others. [23:40]

  • Whether a separated couple needs a written separation agreement, and when they can file for divorce and start dividing assets. [31:15]

  • Whether you need to update a court order made before changes to the Divorce Act took effect. [34:25]

  • How much a basic divorce costs. [37:10]

  • How much a divorce costs if it goes to trial. [41:30]

  • How much mediation or other out-of-court options cost. [42:40]

  • How family violence affects parenting time and contact. [45:00]

  • What age children can decide who they want to live with. [47:50]

  • What happens if there aren’t enough arbitrators and mediators to meet demand. [49:15]

  • What principles apply in relocation applications. [52:30]


JP Boyd, KC

JP Boyd, KC

John-Paul Boyd, KC is a family law arbitrator, mediator, and parenting coordinator. He is a member of the bars of Alberta and British Columbia, and counsel to the Calgary family law firm Wise Scheible Barkauskas. John-Paul practiced family law in Vancouver for 14 years before taking a position as the executive director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, a non-profit organization affiliated with the University of Calgary. He returned to private practice in 2018 and was appointed King’s Counsel in 2019. He writes and speaks frequently on family law topics for a range of audiences.

Attendee feedback

"I appreciate the straightforward language used to discuss the legal issues, as it makes the information easier to understand."

"This subject was well introduced and the presentation was nice and easy to understand, thanks for that. I would like to get the recording as I would like to look at it again."

"Very engaging. Speaker was knowledgeable and presented materials in a very easy-to-understand manner.”  

"Very interactive presentation; not the boring talkies and just reading of the slides."

"Just keep doing what you're doing. It's awesome :)" 

Additional resources 

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From JP Boyd, KC:

From the federal Department of Justice:

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