Profile of child-related family law cases in civil court, 2011/2012: highlights

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  • There were almost 325,000 family law cases in eight reporting provinces and territories in 2011/2012. Almost half (42%) of the family law caseload was made up of cases involving issues related to children: child protection, access, custody or child support.
  • Child protection cases made up 10% of family law cases. Between 2005/2006 and 2011/2012, child protection cases became more likely to have other child or family issues reported, and were more likely to be active after the first year.
  • Custody/access cases (not involving child protection) represented 25% of family law cases. Almost all custody/access cases reported other child or family issues, especially child support. Most custody/access cases continued to be active after the first year (81% of cases initiated in 2010/2011). The likelihood of continuing into a second year has increased over time since 2005/2006.
  • Cases identifying only child support as a child-related issue represented 8% of family law cases. Most of these identified other family issues not related to children such as divorce, division of property or spousal support. A high proportion of these cases (about 70%) continued to be active the year after initiation.
  • Between 2005/2006 and 2011/2012, child-related cases of all types saw an increase in court activity in the first year the cases were initiated (in terms of the number of documents filed and number of dispositions). There was also an increase in activity in the year following initiation.
  • Most child-related cases involved multiple dispositions, where all or part of a case is disposed of (e.g. judgments, settlements, etc). The large majority of child cases of all types reached a disposition in the first year.
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