Supporting Families Experiencing Separation or Divorce


Separation and divorce can be very stressful for families. In cases where there is ongoing high conflict between parents, there can be long-term, negative effects on children. When parents can come to arrangements without going to court, the separation and divorce process can be less stressful, less time-consuming and more efficient.

This backgrounder highlights some of the ways in which the Government of Canada helps families make decisions and resolve issues related to separation or divorce out of court.

Supporting Families Fund

This fund is administered by the Department of Justice Canada. Its main objectives are:

  • to make family justice more accessible to families experiencing separation or divorce; and
  • to encourage people to comply with family obligations such as child support following separation or divorce.

Since its establishment in April 2009, the Supporting Families Fund has contributed $15.5 million annually to the provincial and territorial governments for the development and implementation of family justice services and programs such as mediation and parent education. These services help parents make decisions and reach appropriate agreements about child support, parenting arrangements, and other important matters related to separation or divorce.

Funding assistance is also available to non-government organizations for the development of information and activities to help families experiencing separation or divorce. Non-government organizations are particularly helpful in reaching families that may have difficulty accessing family justice because of language, cultural or socio-economic barriers.

Non-governmental organizations may also receive funding to develop training resources for professionals who regularly deal with family law issues.

Free Resources

The Department of Justice Canada has produced a variety of free resources to help families deal with separation and divorce. Some examples are:

These products and other general information related to separation and divorce can be found on the Government of Canada website at

The parenting plan guide, the step-by-step guide for calculating child support, and the booklet for children are also available in print, free of charge. This is particularly helpful for people who do not have easy access to the Internet.

These free publications and general information about family law can be obtained by calling the Department of Justice Canada's toll-free family law information line at 1-888-373-2222 or by sending an email to

The Department of Justice Canada does not give out legal advice or interpret the law for members of the public. People who need that type of information should contact a lawyer who practises family law.


July 2016
Department of Justice Canada

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