Challenges Facing the Family Law Justice System in Canada Today

With rising instances of family breakdown, drug abuse, and other dysfunctions, the Canadian family law system faces challenges it has rarely seen before. Changing times and rising concerns have resulted in some reforms, but obstacles to providing the best results still remain. 

At Atlas Law Group, we work to bring justice to a variety of clients, but take special pride in dedicating ourselves to solving family legal issues. Our team fights for its clients’ rights in cases of divorce, custody, and other family law problems. 

To best serve our clients, we work to stay abreast of the latest social and legal trends surrounding the family law system in Canada.

Changing Family Demographics

A recent study illustrated trends that demonstrate the rapid rise of non-traditional family arrangements. Between 2006 and 2011, the number of common law partnerships rose by over 13 percent, four times as much as the increase of married couples. Over the same period, single parent households leaped by eight percent.

Assuming these trends continue to develop into the next decade, this will increase the strain on the family court system. Many laws and regulations concerning family law were developed when married couples formed the overwhelming percentage of households with children.

Common law and lone parent-led families often come with added social issues such as increased instances of poverty, abuse, and other serious problems that the justice system must address. Also, these circumstances often lead to an increased need for legal, judicial, and other government services. In all cases, the total task of serving families overwhelms resources able to cope. 

The Problem of Adversarial Justice in Family Disputes

The English system of justice rests upon the assumption that an adversarial format provides the most effective, if not always a perfect, path to justice. In civil and criminal cases, this assumption normally serves the cause of justice better than other alternatives.

Experts say, however, that future reforms of the family justice system should address that very foundation of the system.  First of all, no right to counsel exists and 80 percent of litigants cannot afford legal fees. This places a natural advantage in the hands of those who can afford legal advice.

More importantly, even in cases of divorce, a managed process emphasizing cooperation over legal combat can produce better results. Such a system can also increase court efficiency by reducing the time spent in different processes, including trials. 

Many states in the United States have adopted less confrontational family court options, like mediation, as alternatives to the traditional system and found them a vast improvement. Proposed reforms, if passed, would come on the heels of significant reforms already passed.

Recent Reforms From the Department of Justice

In 2019, the family court system in Canada received its first major reforms in over two decades. These amended three separate federal laws related to divorce, family court orders, and financial issues handled in family law. Goals included:

  • Identify and meet the best interests of the child
  • Reduce family violence
  • Rollback child poverty
  • Increase accessibility and efficiency of the family court system

While these changes have led to significant improvements, challenges still remain. If you have a family issue or wish to ask questions about our services, call today. Our team can give you sound law based advice and represent your interests in negotiation and in court. 

Don’t leave yourself unprotected when going through divorce, custody, elder protection, or other vital family concerns. Let the Atlas Law group team provide the best possible representation for you and your loved ones. 

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