Domestic Violence Allegations and Ontario Divorce
There are many complications that can arise in an Ontario divorce, but one that has significant consequences for your case is allegations of family violence. The definition of family violence under the Canada Divorce Act includes acts ranging from physical attacks to sexual abuse to threats of harm to the victim, other individuals, and animals. This definition only includes acts of violence by one family member toward another, but the meaning of “family” is expansive. It covers spouses, dating partners, ex-spouses and ex-partners, and those who live in the same household.
The problem with family violence allegations in divorce is that one party may be tempted to falsify or exaggerate claims to gain an advantage. Regardless, you may receive a restraining order that severely limits your freedoms, and it could be in effect until a later date when you can appear in court. It is important to work with a skilled Mississauga divorce lawyer if you are facing accusations, but some background is helpful.
How Someone Gets a Restraining Order: By the time you receive paperwork for a protective order against you, there has already been a great deal of legal activity by the accuser. As a petitioner, this person went to court, filled out proper forms, and convinced a judge that you represent a threat of family violence. The court entered the restraining order without you having a chance to contest the allegations, and you are receiving notice after the fact. You will get the opportunity to defend yourself in court but, in the meantime, you may be subject to some restrictions on your freedoms:
- You cannot be within a certain distance of the petitioner, including at work and school.
- You may be prohibited from entering or living in your home.
- You might not be allowed to see your children.
- You could be prohibited from communications with the accuser or your children.
What To Do – and NOT Do: The first priority is to consult with a divorce lawyer, so that you understand exactly what is required by the restraining order. Violations could lead to criminal charges. Your lawyer will advise you on details about what to do, but some general recommendations are helpful.
- Do not mention anything about a restraining order on social media. You should not profess your innocence, make accusations, or insult your ex.
- Avoid reaching out to the accuser’s family or friends regarding the matter. You will get your day in court to state your side.
- Start collecting evidence and talking to witnesses to counter the allegations. This will be important information for your lawyer to use to contest the restraining order and minimize any effects on your divorce case.
Trust Our Mississauga, ON Divorce Lawyers to Advise You
These tips should be helpful as you try to protect your own rights in divorce, but legal counsel is critical. To learn how Zagazeta Garcia Lawyers LLP can help, please call 905-232-0398 or go online to schedule a free consultation. Our firm represents clients in Mississauga, Brampton and the Peel Region, so we are prepared to serve your needs.