The Nova Scotia Family Court Rules changed effective October 1, 2014. These changes allow for the expansion of family justice services for Nova Scotia families.
Before these changes, families in areas outside of Halifax or Cape Breton had access to different, more limited, services than families in those two areas. This was because the family law courts in Halifax, Sydney and Port Hawkesbury are Supreme Court Family Divisions, also known as 'unified family courts.' Family law matters outside of these areas are dealt with in the Family Courts, which operate under a different set of rules.
The new Family Court Rules introduce many of the processes and services once only available in the Family Divisions to the rest of the province. The changes also expand the role and authority of family court officers so they can offer this broader range of services.
Some of the services now available in the Family Court are:
- group information sessions, for those starting, or thinking of starting, the court application process
- conflict assessment to help direct families to services appropriate to their needs
- court-based assisted dispute resolution, or 'ADR'
- settlement conferencing
Family court officers conducting court-based ADR now also have quasi-judicial authority and can issue orders, such as interim orders for child support, before families have to go to court.
To view the new Family Court Rules, click here.
For more information about the differences between the Family Courts and Family Divisions, click here.