Reforming Child Custody and Access Law in Canada: A Discussion Paper

Canadian Journal of Family Law, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 13-78, 1998

66 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2010

See all articles by Brenda Cossman

Brenda Cossman

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Roxanne Mykitiuk

Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: 1998

Abstract

In March 1993, the Department of Justice, Canada, published and circulated a public discussion paper on child custody and access. Building on the public responses generated by the 1993 paper and more recent public and political responses to the reform of federal child support law, the Department has been attempting to clarify its approach to developing reforms to the law and practice of custody and access. We have identified seven issues that are in need of further debate and consideration: (I) finalizing the basic objectives and principles of child custody law; (II) identifying the features of a child focused approach; (III) incorporating the need for certainty and the desire to minimize future litigation; (IV) developing a general policy encouraging optimal parental contact; (V) developing a legislative framework that protects children and their mothers from abuse and violence; (VI) developing an approach to deal with high-conflict child disputes; and (VII) exploring process issues. This discussion paper is organised around these seven issues. Throughout the discussion of these issues, we identify an additional theme that requires further examination and consideration in the discussions regarding the reform of child custody and access law, namely, addressing issues of gender equality.

In this discussion paper we provide a preliminary examination of these issues. We canvass the possible justifications and criticisms of what appear to be the key parameters within which the legal reform of child custody and access is contemplated. Throughout this paper, we raise issues that we believe need further discussion and debate. We elaborate on the possible meanings and implications of these issues and raise specific questions that are urgently in need of further debate in the current public policy deliberations around the reform of child custody and access in Canada.

Keywords: child custody, gender equality, legal reform, public policy

Suggested Citation

Cossman, Brenda and Mykitiuk, Roxanne, Reforming Child Custody and Access Law in Canada: A Discussion Paper (1998). Canadian Journal of Family Law, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 13-78, 1998. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1661252

Brenda Cossman (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-6658 (Phone)

Roxanne Mykitiuk

Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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