Changes to the Divorce Act Shed Light on the Importance of Respecting Cultural and Spiritual Heritages

Changes to the Divorce Act Shed Light on the Importance of Respecting Cultural and Spiritual Heritage

Cultural and spiritual heritages have been considered throughout history to be the glue of our country. Culture and spirituality bind our communities and create shared spaces for individuals to feel a sense of belonging and togetherness. The direct impact cultural and spiritual heritages and communities have on a child’s ability to succeed have been widely researched. It has been proven that the more supported and included children feel, the more likely they are to be empowered to succeed. Therefore, it is important to consider your cultural and spiritual heritages' impact on your child when proceeding with your custody legal matters. Our Edmonton divorce lawyers are prepared to assist you with your divorce and joint custody; call us today, 587-410-2500 for a consultation.

Divorce Act Amendment

As of March 1, 2021, the Divorce Act has been amended to focus on the importance of a child’s cultural, linguistic, religious, and spiritual upbringing and heritage. This amendment includes a child’s Indigenous upbringing and heritage. If you are a family involved or included in cultural or spiritual communities and are considering getting a divorce you should reflect on how you will continue to honour your heritage.

The Divorce Act was amended to focus on how cultural and/or religious traditions or communities can pose as a support system for children. The change in the Act allows for shared custody parenting arrangements to be altered to accommodate and reflect cultural aspects of communities and the family's involvement in those communities. For instance, a key factor for the court to determine a family's child custody arrangements may be the ability of a parent to educate their child on their cultural, linguistic, and religious heritage. Another important factor is the parent's ability to foster and encourage a child to develop their own cultural identity and self-esteem. In the case of a family filing for divorce under these pretenses, a court would decide how to weigh each factor, dependent upon the effects of the factor on the child’s well-being.

Indigenous Upbringing and Heritage

The amendment, specifically, mentions Indigenous upbringing and heritage. Indigenous culture and heritage are honoured widely across Canada. It is pertinent for Indigenous children to have the opportunity to learn from their elders and be immersed in their cultural and spiritual heritage. The importance of involvement in the extended family is another consideration when the court is deciding upon parenting arrangements.

Your Spouse Does Not Hold the Same Values and Beliefs, How to Create a Parenting Agreement to Suit this Predicament?

In some cases, one spouse does not hold the same values and beliefs; therefore, it is important to consider the effects that this could have on your child’s cultural or spiritual journeys. It may be a consideration for you and your spouse to plan and schedule the major holidays or observation periods that your religion or culture requires in your family plan. In Alberta, this plan is called a Parenting Agreement, which outlines cultural and spiritual holidays and observation periods, living arrangements, parenting schedules, vacation and travel, health care, and education plans for the child that both spouses will adhere to. This arrangement can also include but is not limited to family pet arrangements, electronic device usage, dietary restrictions, extended family visits, and when to introduce a child to a new partner or potential step sibling. A key component to note in the parenting plan is the level of communication expected between the parties. Specifically, how frequently will you remain in contact, what methods of communication will you use, when is appropriate to contact one another, what information will be communicated between spouses, how to talk to your child and what information will be communicated. The final consideration for communication is what to do in emergency situations. Our Edmonton divorce lawyers can assist you with drafting your Joint Parenting Agreement.

If creating the Parenting Agreement with your spouse is not an option for your family, you have the opportunity to petition the court to create a Parenting Agreement for your situation. The court will develop a parenting plan that suits the best interests of the child.

Contact One of our Edmonton Divorce Lawyers for Legal Assistance Today

Our Edmonton divorce lawyers offer legal services that can prepare you for your divorce and answer your questions regarding parenting arrangements. We are available when you need us to ensure that your family is the top priority. Whether you have begun the divorce proceedings or are deciding on the best approach - Verhaeghe Law Office may be able to help you. If you require services related to divorce law, please contact one of our Edmonton divorce lawyers today by filling out a consultation form or calling us at: (587) 410-2500.

*Disclaimer: Please note that this page is not intended to constitute legal advice. The page provides a general overview of the legal service area. As each legal issue is independent and unique it is important to access qualified legal advice. We recommend that you contact a Verhaeghe divorce or family lawyer for any legal inquiries pertaining to divorce and family laws.

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