1st Session, 41st Legislature

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Bill 214


  Bilingual version (PDF) Explanatory Note

(Assented to                                         )

HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

C.C.S.M. c. F20 amended


The Family Maintenance Act is amended by this Act.


Sections 2 and 3 are replaced with the following:


Best interests of the child


In making an order under this Act, the most important consideration for the court must be the best interests of the child.

Exception re child status


Subsection (1) does not apply to a declaratory order of parentage made under section 19, 20 or 28.

Minimizing impact on a child


If a child might be affected by a proceeding under this Act, a court must

(a) consider the impact of the proceeding on the child; and

(b) encourage the parties to focus on the best interests of the child, including minimizing the effect on the child of conflict between the parties.

Child's views to be considered


The court may consider the views and preferences of a child when it is satisfied that the child is able to understand the nature of the proceedings and that doing so would not be harmful to the child.

Court may direct evaluation


The court may, if it considers it necessary to determine a child's best interests in a proceeding under this Act,

(a) appoint a family evaluator under section 49 of The Court of Queen's Bench Act or section 20.4 of The Provincial Court Act; or

(b) appoint a social worker or other person to evaluate a matter.

Person appointed


A person appointed under subsection (1) must not have had any previous connection with the parties, unless he or she conducted an earlier evaluation of them or is someone to whom each party consents.

Inference from refusal


If a party refuses to co-operate with a person appointed under subsection (1), the person appointed must report that fact to the court, and the court may draw any inference it considers appropriate.

Dispute resolution by the parties


The parties to a dispute must act in a way

that strives

(a) to minimize conflict;

(b) to promote co-operation;

(c) to meet the best interests of any child involved in the dispute; and

(d) to the extent the parties consider it appropriate to do so, to resolve the dispute by reaching an agreement through negotiation or another dispute resolution process.

Coming into force


This Act comes into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation.

Explanatory Note

This Bill amends The Family Maintenance Act to further emphasize the best interests of the child. The court must consider the impact of a proceeding on a child.

The Act currently provides for the court to direct an investigation into any matter in a proceeding. This Bill updates the Act's wording to focus on an evaluation by a person such as a family evaluator or social worker.

Parties in a proceeding must try to act in a way that minimizes their conflict, promotes their co-operation, and meets the best interests of any child involved in the dispute. They can also try to resolve their dispute through an alternative dispute resolution process.