Parenting and Support Act Coming into Effect May 26, 2017

On May 26th, 2017, the provisions of the Parenting and Support Act will come into effect throughout Nova Scotia. This is a new piece of legislation that will update and replace the Maintenance and Custody Act. This Act governs family law issues relating to child custody, and child and spousal support for unmarried couples or married couples who have separated but have not initiated divorce proceedings.

The Parenting and Support Act maintains some of the provisions of the Maintenance and Custody Act. There are a number of key updates and additions that affect law in Nova Scotia. These changes are shown in the wording used by the Act relating to parenting. For instance, the definition of who qualifies as a “parent” or “spouse” has been broadened, and terms such as “access” have been replaced with “interaction” and “parenting time.” The Act has also adopted more gender neutral language throughout.

The significant change is that the Parenting and Support Act now includes provisions on child mobility and relocation. The Act imposes presumptions in favour of certain parents who wish to move with their child, or those who oppose the move. These presumptions are based on the custodial and parenting arrangements in place at the time.

If the parent who wants to relocate with the child is considered the child’s primary caregiver (or the parent the child lives with for the majority of the time), then the other parent would have the burden to show the court that the proposed move would not be in the best interests of the child. If parenting time is shared between the parents, then both parties need to show the Court what is best for the child.

The new Parenting and Support Act sets out a list of factors for the court to consider when seeking to determine what would be in the best interests of the child in relocation cases.

Cases concerning mobility and relocation are some of the most difficult family law issues that come before the court. The Family Law Lawyers at Lenehan Musgrave LLP are knowledgeable in these new provisions of the Parenting and Support Act, and experienced in child mobility and relocation cases. Please contact us at: or 902-466-2200 for more information or to schedule an initial consultation.