As reported by Divorce Magazine, Ontario’s Attorney General Chris Bentley has announced some much-anticipated changes to the province’s divorce process. Here is a snapshot of the changes in store:
- will allow greater access to legal advice earlier in the divorce process
- will expose divorcing people to alternative dispute resolution options like mediation, arbitration and collaborative law
- will lessen the paperwork, resource and administrative burden on overwhelmed Family Courts
- to come into effect March 1, 2010
- to be implemented in two pilot jurisdictions: Brampton and Milton, and then eventually throughout the province
- no new public funding – all funds will come from a pool of $150 million previously earmarked for Ontario’s Legal Aid program
As might be expected, these impending changes are being met by both cautious optimism and cynical skepticism.
On the plus side, some observers are pleased to see an acknowledgment by the Ontario Government that the divorce system is broken and needs attention. Yet on the negative side, others worry that the changes are temporary, superficial and lack the funds needed to create a lasting, positive difference.
Divorce Magazine will publish updates as these changes come into effect in the new year.