Race(ing) family law: a feminist critical race analysis of the "Best interest of the child" test and the impact for racialized women in custody and access cases




Suleman, Zahara

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This thesis explores the inclusion of race as a factor for consideration in the best interest of the child test for custody and access determinations through the lens of Critical Race Theory and Critical Race Feminism. This thesis contributes to the ongoing feminist discussions and debates on the benefits and risks of including race in the best interest of the child test since the death of Bill C-22 An Act to Amend the Divorce Act. Through a review of family law reform and Van de Perre v. Edwards, the leading case to articulate that race is a relevant factor, I will highlight how race has come to be interpreted. Interviews were conducted with women advocates and lawyers who primarily advocated for racialized women and children in custody and access determinations. Their lived experiences of the challenges and struggles that racialized women experience in family law, particularly, the best interest of the child test, assist in providing a counter-story to White mainstream family law discourse.



custody of children, minority women, legal status, laws, Canada