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How Does Family Violence Impact Child Custody Cases?

How Does Family Violence Impact Child Custody Cases?

Some of the most important decisions made during a divorce, surround children. The parental responsibilities established during the process are made to set the child up for a safe and positive future where they can receive equal love and care. Although this arrangement is the ideal outcome, the reality changes drastically under the circumstances of family violence. When courts are made to decide for a child’s future, custody cases become complicated. Concern for domestic violence is very serious and any accusations made will ultimately change the way a judge regards the accused in court.

Child custody cases will always differ depending on the specifics of the situation at hand. In this article we will be going over 3 things to keep in mind when you are battling a child custody case to help you understand how to approach the process and do what’s best for you and your family. So, what does the court consider when making decisions upon the concern for family violence?

1. The Best Interests Of The Child

With the new Divorce Act in place, changes have been implemented to give children a voice during custody battles. The prioritization of child wellness and their futures during these cases is being viewed with more importance. It is now more commonly understood that the decisions made in court regarding parenting time directly impact how children are set up to grow and learn.

2. How Family Violence is Defined

When a concern for domestic violence has been communicated, the judge will look to explore any accusations of abuse, mistreatment or neglect. Even if the child is not the direct victim, the court is required to consider their safety and wellbeing. A judge may decide that the individual accused of abuse is not a suitable guardian for a child.

Although, the concern for family violence is taken very seriously in court, a judge will not take a parent’s word for it before reviewing the situation in detail. Some factors that may be considered in court are:

  • The history of abuse in the family
  • How severe the violence is and how frequently it occurs
  • Any presented evidence of abuse (such as photographs or threatening messages)
  • Previous police reports that have documented abuse

Considering these factors will help judges determine if abuse in the family is regular behaviour and therefore the likeliness of it continuing.

3. The Parenting Plan

When dealing with a contested divorce as a result of family violence, developing a strong parenting plan can provide some relief. The plan is established in order to keep everyone safe with strict rules that would be difficult to take advantage of.

Here are some ways that parenting plans aim to keep families safe:

  • Specific dates, times and locations are outlined when it is time for the child to see the other parent
  • Communication rules are established to control what contact is allowed between the parent and child (this also applies to communication between both parents)
  • Upon further safety concerns, a supervised visitation may be part of the terms in order to prevent a child from being alone with their other parent.

If you are a survivor of family violence, it is very important to consider a family lawyer who can represent you through the divorce process. There are options for you and your children as you adjust to changes in family life after divorce.

 


At Hussain Law we focus on helping our clients navigate the emotional and financial challenges of separation and divorce. Our office remains fully operational, and we have implemented various new procedures that allow us to continue to advise clients seamlessly during this time. If you have a family law issue that you need assistance with, please contact Ayesha Hussain at 647-428-3919.

Can I Get A Divorce If My Spouse Does Not Want One?

Can I Get A Divorce If My Spouse Does Not Want One?

When you have decided that it is time for divorce, thinking about how to approach the process amicably can be a challenging step. If your spouse does not agree with your decision, there are certain circumstances under which you can still get a divorce. Going through a contested divorce process is time-consuming and can often be difficult on the family. In this article, we will review what options you have based on your situation so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.

Reviewing Your Options

There are three grounds for divorce under Canadian law:

    1. Both spouses have been separated for at least one year
    2. There has been reported violence or abuse
    3. Adultery has been committed

If you are going through violence or adultery, we recommend that you seek legal advice so that a professional can help guide you towards the best course of action. It is important to note that if you have also committed violence or adultery, then you will not be able to file for a divorce without first staying separated for at least one year.

If you are unable to locate your partner while seeking a divorce you will be required to make every effort to find them. The divorce will be granted if you have shown proof of your efforts. It is good to recognize that if one spouse is already considering divorce, the marriage has broken down. In court, this is what you will need to prove.

So, even if your spouse does not want a divorce, you are still able to file for one and get the process started as soon as possible. Although, depending on your situation, this may not be the best course of action to take right away. The outcome of an adversarial divorce may have very negative effects on your children and the rest of the family. It is advisable to do everything in your power to come to an agreement with your spouse before getting courts involved.

Here are some efforts you can make to communicate with your partner:

    1. Find time to explain to them why you believe a divorce would be best for you both, including your children
    2. Consider the advantages of family mediation and have a conversation about if the process would work for your situation
    3. If you cannot get them to agree, take time to analyze the situation for yourself so that you can find strength behind your decision

Overcoming Guilt

Often times, individuals struggle with the feeling of guilt when deciding to separate on their own terms. It is important to validate your reasoning for ending the marriage for yourself even if your spouse does not agree. When you practice good mental health attitudes, your ability to approach difficult situations positively increases.

Remember that marriages breakdown for many different reasons. As people change, so do their relationships. Only you truly know when it is time to start a new journey. It is important to find the truth behind your emotions and make empowered decisions. By doing so, you become the best version of yourself for you and everyone around.

 


At Hussain Law we focus on helping our clients navigate the emotional and financial challenges of separation and divorce. Our office remains fully operational, and we have implemented various new procedures that allow us to continue to advise clients seamlessly during this time. If you have a family law issue that you need assistance with, please contact Ayesha Hussain at 647-428-3919.

What Are The Advantages Of Family Mediation?

What Are The Advantages Of Family Mediation?

If you are currently deciding if divorce is the right choice for your family, you have probably been asking yourself a lot of questions about the process. Some of the most frequently asked questions about divorce mention family mediation. Is mediation right for me? At what stage should I try it? Is it even worth my time?

The purpose of family mediation is to prevent disputes, reach settlements, and help parties maintain ongoing relationships where agreements can be found. It is a non-binding procedure, meaning that no party is obligated to continue with the process after deciding to stop. Settlements are concluded when both individuals agree to accept them, as mediators do not impose decisions on parties. Mediation is a confidential procedure that allows parties to have full control over the process and the outcomes that follow.

In this article we go over some of the advantages of mediation so you can decide if it is the right step for you.

Get A Neutral Opinion

The job of the mediator is to be a neutral point of reference to both parties while they negotiate and come to agreement. These are experienced lawyers who help each side process their concerns while encouraging an understanding of multiple perspectives. During mediation the parties receive assistance from the mediator while a healthy communication session is facilitated. Having a neutral, third-party present is a huge advantage if you’re looking to have your concerns truly heard.

Control Your Decisions

There are no strict rules that govern the process of family mediation. The procedure is designed to give you control over the decisions you make and the agreements you come to. It is a flexible process and simply aims to lead parties to compromise. Mediation allows couples to work through their disputes together. Resolving conflicts keeps them from escalating and in turn allows individuals to protect themselves and the rest of their family. As long as the parties are present and willing to cooperate, be respectful and honest, agreements can be found.

Avoid Litigation

Going to court will often help couples settle disputes, although it is a more costly and time consuming option than family mediation. Oftentimes litigation creates more tension and conflict between parties. Usually, one side will not get the ability to have their concerns heard nor will they have time to come to a proper agreement. Taking the time and putting in the effort to go through mediation provides the possibility of compromise. When both parties equally respect each other and their own perspectives and opinions, they better the situation for themselves, their children and other family members.

Family mediation has many advantages for parties who are willing to agree with each other. Having a neutral, confidential setting where open communication is encouraged and facilitated can be a great way to settle disputes for many.


At Hussain Law we focus on helping our clients navigate the emotional and financial challenges of separation and divorce. Our office remains fully operational, and we have implemented various new procedures that allow us to continue to advise clients seamlessly during this time. If you have a family law issue that you need assistance with, please contact Ayesha Hussain at 647-428-3919.

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce

Without support, the divorce process can be confusing and difficult. Even firmly deciding that divorce is the right choice can be hard for some. If you are seriously considering it, or have already decided, it is important to understand what laws are set in place where you live and what options you have. You may be faced with many questions, but unsure where to start. Here are 5 frequently asked questions about divorce that will help you feel more prepared as you begin your divorce journey.

1. I want to get a divorce, where do I start?

When you have decided that getting a divorce will be the best choice for you and your family, the first step is to consider legal advice form a family law expert. A family lawyer will ensure you know how to protect your rights and what the process requires depending on your case.

The first step in the process is to fill out a divorce application and submit it at a courthouse. After paying the required fees, you must ensure that your partner receives a copy and responds within 30 days.

2. How long does it take to get a divorce?

The length of a divorce process will vary on the complexity of your situation. In Ontario, an uncontested divorce may take around 4-6 months, while a contested divorce takes anywhere between 6-36 months to be finalized.

It is important to note that you and you spouse have to be separated for at least one year before you file a divorce application. In the event that the reason for the separation stems from violence or adultery, you could be granted divorce right away.

3. How much will it cost?

Much like the length of the divorce process, the cost will be determined based on how complicated the case is. If you’re going through a very adversarial divorce, it will cost more as a result of attorney fees. Ideally, if both parties can agree on all divorce related issues such as property division, child custody and support, and spousal support, the divorce will not cost much in comparison.

4. How does a judge decide who gets custody of the children?

When it comes to children, it is recommended that you and your spouse work on coming to an agreement regarding their futures after your divorce. The conversation on the wellbeing of your children should always come first when making decisions during the process.

Unfortunately, judges usually do not have the ability to spend enough time with families before making decisions that will affect their lives. With the new changes to the Canadian Divorce Act, the needs and best interests of the child are now taken into consideration more than ever before.

Here are some factors that influence the decision to grant custody to a specific parent:

  • The nature of their relationship and any emotional ties between the parent and child
  • The stability of the home environment
  • Attention to their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing
  • What the child actually wants

5. Is mediation worth it?

If you and your spouse are willing to compromise, but need some guidance in doing so, mediation may be a great solution. A neutral, third-party mediator won’t make any decisions for you, but instead will push you in the right direction towards a positive outcome. There are many benefits to choosing mediation if you believe it may be right for you. Here are a few:

  • You have control over your decisions
  • An unbiased perspective can provide real truths, answers to your questions and attempt to settle your frustrations from a neutral standpoint
  • Avoiding litigation lowers your divorce costs
  • In Ontario, it is statically proven that most cases do in fact settle. Over 90% of them.

When navigating the process it is advisable to seek a family lawyer to minimize the overwhelming feelings that come with not knowing where to start and having too many unanswered questions about divorce. With the proper support, your journey has a positive potential.


At Hussain Law we focus on helping our clients navigate the emotional and financial challenges of separation and divorce. Our office remains fully operational, and we have implemented various new procedures that allow us to continue to advise clients seamlessly during this time. If you have a family law issue that you need assistance with, please contact Ayesha Hussain at 647-428-3919.