Family laws are in place to protect the safety and wellbeing of children.
The Divorce Act (federal law), the Parenting and Support Act and Children and Family Services Act (provincial laws) are laws that tell us what has to be considered when making decisions for and about children.
The federal Divorce Act applies to married spouses who are divorcing, or who are divorced and want to change or vary their court order. They may use this law to apply to court to get or change parenting arrangements. Both spouses, a parent or any person who is currently in or seeking a parental role in the life of a child, may apply for parenting time or decision-making responsibility. Non-spouses who are important people in a child’s life may use this law to have specified contact with a child, if they meet certain requirements.
Nova Scotia’s Parenting and Support Act applies to parents who have a child together but are parenting their child separately, or people such as grandparents or guardians who are caring for a child. They may use this law to apply to court to get or change parenting arrangements. Grandparents, stepparents and other important people in a child’s life may use this law to seek decision-making responsibility, contact with a child or interaction time with a child (certain requirements must be met).
Nova Scotia’s Children and Family Services Act sets out the standard of care for a child and when the Department of Community Services may become involved. This is often called child protection. For more information about child protection click here.