Member of Parliament Mr. Maurice Vellacott’s new Private Member’s Bill on equal shared parenting proposes important amendments to Canada’s Divorce Act. The bill, to be tabled this fall, will instruct judges to apply the principle of equal shared parenting unless it is established that the best interests of the child would be substantially enhanced by allocating parental responsibility differently. The suggested amendments follow the recommendations of a joint House-Senate committee report entitled “For the Sake of the Children.”
Mr. Vellacott believes, and studies show, that it is in the best interest of children when both parents are actively involved in their lives. Currently, approximately 90% of divorce and custody cases end up with a sole custody arrangement. Divorces are difficult to go through and are often devastating for everyone involved, especially the children. Vellacott’s proposed changes are preventative measures intended to help reach better agreements between moms and dads and to avoid long custody battles. Mr. Vellacott would like to move away from a “custody” model to one of “parenting time.”
Mr. Vellacott expects this Equal Shared Parenting Bill to be discussed in the House of Commons this coming September. The bill ought to pass the voting stage with relative ease since 78% of Canadians and parliamentarians of all parties said they would support of this kind of change.