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Posts tagged ‘Restraining Order’

Can Mom’s New Partner Participate in “Family” Counselling if He’s Subject to a Restraining Order?

 

Can Mom’s New Partner Participate in “Family” Counselling if He’s Subject to a Restraining Order?

The father and mother, now separated, had two children together.  The father, who worked as a taxi driver, had full custody of them and received no child support from the mother.

The mother had a new partner, Mr. V., who had apparently been abusive not just toward her and the children, but towards the father as well.  As the Court put it, the litigation record was “replete with allegations of abuse perpetrated by Mr. V.” against the father, mother and their children.

On two occasions, the father refused to let the mother have access to the children, despite a Court Order requiring him to do so.  In the face of those two incidents, the mother went straight to court and successfully obtained another Order which held the father in contempt.   The Order also included a provision requiring the mother, father, and children to participate in counselling, and – quite unusually — added that Mr. V. was to participate in the counselling as well.  Moreover, the father was ordered to fully co-operate with all recommendations made by the counselor, and in connection with Mr. V’s participation as well.

Among other grounds, the father successfully appealed the stipulation as to counselling, in part.

Firstly, the Appeal Court observed that in requiring the mother’s current (and allegedly abusive) new partner at the counselling, the trial judge had likely not considered the children’s best interests.   But even from a practical standpoint, that term of the Order was untenable because Mr. V. was the subject of a restraining order, which had been folded into the Order that granted the mother access to the children.  That restraining order prohibited Mr. V from being within 500 meters of where the mother was exercising her access rights. The Court found it was an actually an error in law to order counselling that involved Mr. V.  in the face of an order that restrains his ability to be anywhere near the children.

The Court therefore set aside the part of the Order relating to Mr. V’s involvement, and merely directed that the father was ordered to “attend and co-operate with the counselling process.”

In other words:  The Court concluded that it was a bad idea to have the mother’s new boyfriend at the fractured family’s counselling sessions – particularly since he was alleged to be abusive to everyone else attending, and since he was subject to a restraining order. Perhaps not a surprising outcome.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Ralhan v. Singh

At Russell Alexander Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com

 

Top 5 Questions About Restraining Orders

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Top 5 Questions About Restraining Orders

Given that failing relationships and the process of formally separating can be emotionally-harrowing at the best of times, it comes as no surprise that they can sometimes become volatile and even physical. In such cases, it may become necessary for one spouse or partner to obtain a Restraining Order against the other.

Here are the basic points to know:

1. Who Can Be the Subject of a Restraining Order? And Who Can Apply for One?

You cannot obtain a Restraining Order against just anybody. In the right circumstances you can only get a Restraining Order from Family Court against your spouse/partner (including same-sex partners), to whom you were formally married or with whom you lived together for any period of time. There is no requirement that you have had children together. However, you cannot obtain a Restraining Order against someone you were only dating, but did not live with.

2. When Can I Get a Restraining Order?

Anytime you are afraid that your spouse or partner (or former spouse/partner), will harm you or your children, you can ask the Family Court for a Restraining Order. Note that this request essentially launched legal proceedings, and the matter becomes part of the record and involves certain established processes.

The authority by judges to grant a Restraining Order is found in the Ontario Family Law Act, which sets out the requisite test. The person asking for the Order must show that he or she has “reasonable grounds to fear for his or her own safety or for the safety of any child that is in his or her lawful custody.”

3. Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Restraining Order?

No. Still, it is a good idea to hire a lawyer to obtain a Restraining Order, particularly if your situation will soon devolve into a marital separation or divorce, scenarios involving child custody dispute, or if your need for a Restraining Order arises in circumstances that include issues around immigration.

4. What Does the Restraining Order Include?

The Restraining Order contains the conditions that your spouse must obey, which are set by the judge who grants the Order after considering all the circumstances. The Restraining Order can be general in scope (e.g. that he or she must stay away from you, or stay outside a prescribed distance from you), or can be more detailed and specific (e.g. that he or she is prohibited from coming to your home, the homes of your extended family members, your workplace, and other social or religious venues where you habitually go). It may also proscribe exceptions to these kinds of blanket prohibitions.

5. What Happens if the Restraining Order Is Not Complied With?

If your spouse fails to abide by the terms of the Restraining Order, then he or she can be arrested by the police, then criminally charged and prosecuted.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.