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The Province of Manitoba is introducing new legislation to modernize Manitoba's family law system to help improve outcomes for families and children working through separation and divorce.

Modernization of the family law system is groundbreaking for Canadians as it's the first-in-Canada legislation to streamline this often lengthy, expensive and many times contentious processing through Manitoba courts.

Justice Minister Cliff Cullen says they're taking steps to streamline the process, encouraging resolution to take place outside of the courts.

"Our government is committed to making a difference in the lives of Manitobans by modernizing our family law system it make it less complex, less adversarial, and less damaging for families and children," says Cullen.

"Right now the process, whether it be child-support, or going through a separation or divorce is time-consuming, expensive and usually contentious," he says. So, our goal is if we can streamline this process to make it less adversarial and hopefully more timely, it would be a better outcome for Manitoba families and children involved in these situations."

"We're doing a lot of things to try to streamline the process, and not having to involve families getting t in front of judges. We're trying to get the right people in the right place to provide that up front information to help families work through those very difficult challenges."

"We know we're going to have to put resources into people who are going to be working 1-on-1 with these families," says Cullen. "Whether it be adjudicators or resource people. Obviously, that's going to take some resources."

The following information provided in the Province of Manitoba news release:

'Manitoba's modernization of family law will focus on improving access to justice, ensuring timeliness and service excellence, creating value for money for Manitobans, and lessening the social cost of conflict caused by divorce and separation.'

'To help achieve this, the Manitoba government has introduced the family law modernization act which would:

- simplify child support processes so that thousands of matters can be addressed outside the courts, beginning this fall;

-expand the administrative authority of the Maintenance Enforcement Program so parents can make support arrangements outside the court;

- ensure that family arbitration awards made for Manitobans are enforceable, beginning this fall; 

- create a three-year pilot to test a new family dispute resolution model, which includes the creation of a new Family Dispute Resolution Service to more effectively deal with matters outside of the court, to be launched in early 2020.'

'It is estimated that 3,000 to 5,000 families are affected by separation or divorce every year and in Manitoba, most currently rely on the court system to resolve child custody, support, and property matters. The system is complex, and families often must choose between professional services, which can be expensive, or self-representation if they do not qualify for legal aid.'

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