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2nd Session, 41st Parliament,
62-63 Elizabeth II, 2013-2014
senate of canada
An Act to amend the Divorce Act (shared parenting plans)
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
1. This Act may be cited as the Shared Parenting Act.
R.S., c. 3 (2nd Supp.)
2. Subsection 11(1) of the Divorce Act is amended by adding the following after paragraph (a):
(a.1) to satisfy itself that reasonable arrangements have been made for the parenting of any children of the marriage, having regard to their best interests, and, if such arrangements have not been made, to stay the granting of the divorce until such arrangements are made;
3. Section 15 of the Act is replaced by the following:
Definition of “spouse”
15. In sections 15.1 to 16.1, “spouse” has the meaning assigned by subsection 2(1), and includes a former spouse.
4. The Act is amended by adding the following after section 16:
Definition of “parenting plan”
16.1 (1) In this section, “parenting plan” means a plan that sets out, in whole or in part, the responsibilities and authority of each spouse with respect to the care, development and upbringing of a child of the marriage, providing for matters such as
(a) the child’s place of residence or residential schedule;
(b) the allocation of time spent by the child under the care of each spouse;
(c) the allocation and exercise of decision-making authority relating to the child’s education, health, and moral or religious upbringing;
(d) a process for resolving disputes between the spouses as to the interpretation or implementation of the plan;
(e) a process for revising or updating the plan; or
(f) any other matter relating to the child’s care, development and upbringing.
Proposed parenting plan
(2) An application made by either or both spouses under section 16 may include a parenting plan.
Approval of parenting plan
(3) The court may approve a parenting plan, with such modifications, if any, as the court considers appropriate, taking into consideration only the best interests of the child, and may incorporate the approved plan into the order it makes under section 16.
Principles recognized in parenting plan
(4) Subject to subsection (6), a parenting plan should expressly recognize the following principles:
(a) the purpose of the plan is to serve the bests interests of the child as determined by reference to the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of the child;
(b) the plan shall be interpreted at all times by reference to the best interests of the child, and all decisions and actions of the parents under the plan shall be made or taken in a manner that is consistent with those best interests;
(c) the dissolution of the parents’ marriage does not alter the fundamental nature of parenting, which remains a shared responsibility, nor does it sever the enduring nature of the parent-child bond;
(d) the child has the right to know and be cared for by each parent, including the right to have a personal, meaningful and ongoing relationship with each parent and to maintain direct contact with each parent on a regular basis;
(e) the child has the right to spend time with, and communicate with, other persons with whom the child has a significant relationship, such as grandparents and other relatives;
(f) each parent has the right to make inquiries, and to be given information, as to the health, education and welfare of the child; and
(g) each parent retains authority and responsibility for the care, development and upbringing of the child, including the right to participate in major decisions respecting the child’s health, education, and moral or religious upbringing.
Omission of principles
(5) If a parenting plan does not contain one or more of the principles set out in subsection (4), the court shall inquire as to the reasons for the omission.
Approval of parenting plan with omission
(6) The court may approve a parenting plan that does not contain one or more of the principles set out in subsection (4) if the court is satisfied that doing so is in the best interests of the child.
(7) In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the court may presume that a parenting plan that contains the principles set out in subsection (4) and that is agreed to by both spouses is in the best interests of the child.
Published under authority of the Senate of Canada
Clause 2: Existing text of relevant portion of subsection 11(1):
11. (1) In a divorce proceeding, it is the duty of the court
Clause 3: Existing text of section 15:
15. In sections 15.1 to 16, “spouse” has the meaning assigned by subsection 2(1), and includes a former spouse.
Clause 4: New.