Amendments to Divorce Act and Alberta Rules of Court

February 18, 2021

On March 1, 2021, section 12 of Bill C-78 comes into force. It amends the Divorce Act, the Family Orders and Agreements Enforcement Assistance Act and the Garnishment, Attachment and Pension Diversion Act.

The Department of Justice is offering a number of online educational seminars, including a free on-demand course, about the amendments.

The Alberta Rules of Court have also been amended by Order in Council 27/2021 (Alberta Rules of Court (Divorce Proceedings) Amendment Regulation), implementing a number of changes to rules and forms, effective March 1, 2021. The Order in Council is available online.

The amendments to the Alberta Rules of Court were required as a consequence of the Divorce Act amendments, and may be found in the Family Law Rules in part 12 and related family law forms in Schedule A, Division 2. The Court of Queen’s Bench has issued a notice stating that old forms will not be accepted for filing after Feb. 26, 2021. Links to the revised divorce forms may be found on the Court of Queen’s Bench website. Form AP-1, the Civil Notice of Appeal, is also amended at paragraph 8.

A summary of key rule amendments follows:

  • Rule 6.10(2)(b) is amended to state that an electronic hearing may be held on the Court’s own initiative, without the requirement for a party to make an application.
  • Rule 12.26 amendments change the process for applications dealing with orders made by a competent authority outside Alberta and outside Canada.
  • Rules 12.44 and 12.45 are amended to add a process for a person other than a spouse to obtain or vary a parenting order or a contact order in respect of a child of the marriage.
  • Rule 12.451 has been added to provide a process to vary, suspend or rescind a support order when the respondent habitually resides in a province outside of Alberta.
  • Rule 12.46 has been replaced with a new provision to address ongoing interjurisdictional applications to obtain or vary a support order under the Divorce Act when the respondent resides in a province outside of Alberta.
  • Rule 12.47 is replaced with a new provision to address incoming interjurisdictional applications to obtain or vary support orders under the Divorce Act when the applicant resides in a province or territory outside of Alberta or in a ‘designated jurisdiction’ outside Canada, identified under Alberta’s Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act as a ‘reciprocating jurisdiction.’
  • Rule 12.53 adds requirements for judgments and orders regarding parenting time, decision-making responsibility, contact and support.