Separation: The Threat of Violence

Separation: The Threat of Violence

Domestic violence, family violence and intimate partner violence are very serious matters. They can involve physical, emotional, sexual, psychological or financial force or abuse inflicted by a partner or ex-partner. It can also include threats to harm children, other family members, pets and property.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, you are not alone in facing this – there is help available for you. If you have been physically or sexually assaulted, you can call the police, who will obtain your permission to work with you and Victim Crisis Assistance teams to provide you with short-term assistance.

Where you may wish to avoid contacting the police, you have community resources available to help you, including community health centres; your family doctor; a Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care Centre; or even calling the Assaulted Women’s Helpline for more information and referrals. In addition, if you are concerned about safety, you may wish to apply for a restraining order or an order for exclusive possession.

Restraining Orders

A restraining order is a court order that states what your partner cannot do, such as where they cannot go or who they cannot contact – breaking any such condition is a criminal offence. If you require a restraining order as soon as possible, go to your nearest family court and ask for help from duty counsel or the advice counsel lawyer.

The application requires some written documents, including an application and a Canadian Policy Information Centre Restraining Order Information Form, which would check off all the applicable conditions to your case. You will need to keep this restraining order with you at all times, as the police will need to see it to enforce it.

Exclusive Possession Orders

This type of order is usually temporary, and children of the relationship would also be allowed access to the property under the terms of the order. This type of order usually applies to legally married partners; in cases of common-law couples, it is harder for one party to get an order for exclusive possession, as it depends on whose name is on the deed/lease.

Family Law Rights – Child Custody

Regardless of whether or not you are married, you and your children have rights under Ontario family laws. In abusive or controlling situations, you should not agree to joint custody of your children. Your partner may use this arrangement to assert some control over you. You should speak to a family lawyer as soon as possible about custody. If custody issues are a big concern, courthouses can assist you immediately.

A judge will generally look at the best interests of the children when deciding custody. Ultimately, the courts wish for the children to maintain healthy relationships with both parents.

Family Law Rights – Access and Supervised Access

Generally speaking, parents who do not have custody may still be able to visit and spend time with their children.

Parents with custody of children cannot deny the other parent access unless there is a court order that orders so. You can keep your child from the other parent if it would be unsafe to let them see their children.

The court can order supervised access if you are worried about your children’s safety. A third party supervises child visits to ensure the child is safe. Often times, the third party may be a friend or family member both parents trust to supervise the visits.

People often execute this in public places where there is less risk of the altercation.

What can you do to protect yourself and your children from domestic violence? Our specialist Family Lawyers can discuss your matter in more detail over a free consultation. You can reach our office at 905-366-0202 or contact us through our website here.

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