When it comes to deciding child custody (decision-making responsibility) in Ontario, the best interests of the child are always the primary consideration. If one parent is abusive, the Ontario court of justice will take this into account when making custody decisions. Here is some more information on how child custody is decided if one parent is abusive in Ontario:
Types of Abuse
Abuse can take many different forms, and it’s important to understand that not all forms of abuse are physical. Emotional abuse, for example, can include belittling, name-calling, and intimidation. Sexual abuse can include any unwanted sexual contact or behavior, and financial abuse can include withholding financial resources or controlling the other parent’s access to money. It’s important for the court to understand the full scope of the abuse in order to make an informed decision about custody.
The safety of the child is always the top priority in any custody decision, but it’s particularly important in cases of abuse. The court will take into account any history of violence or threats of violence, as well as any evidence of substance abuse or mental health issues that could affect the safety of the child. In some cases, the court may order a risk assessment to help determine the level of risk to the child.
Impact on the Child
The court will also consider the impact of the abuse on the child when making custody decisions as per divorce act. This can include the child’s emotional well-being, their relationship with both parents, and their ability to cope with any trauma they may have experienced as a result of the abuse. In some cases, the court may order counseling or therapy for the child to help them deal with the effects of the abuse.
Supervised access is a common solution in cases of Family violence where the court believes that the abusive parent can still have a relationship with the child, but only under certain conditions. Supervised access allows the abusive parent to spend time with the child, but only in the presence of a neutral third party, such as a social worker or family member. The supervisor’s role is to ensure the safety of the child and to intervene if necessary.
In some cases, the court may determine that it is not safe for the abusive parent to have any contact with the child. This can be a difficult decision, but it is sometimes necessary to ensure the safety of the child. In these cases, the court may order a no-contact order, which prohibits the abusive parent from contacting the child in any way.
Child Protection orders are court orders that help protect the child and the non-abusive parent from further harm. These orders can include restraining orders, which prohibit the abusive parent from coming near the child or non-abusive parent, and orders that require the abusive parent to attend counseling or anger management programs. Protection orders can also include orders that require the abusive parent to leave the family home or to relinquish any weapons they may have.
Seeking Legal Advice
If one parent is abusive, it is important for the non-abusive parent to seek legal advice as soon as possible. TCZ Lawyer Eric Zhao can help the non-abusive parent understand their legal rights and options, and can help them take steps to protect themselves and their children. We can also help the non-abusive parent navigate the court system and ensure that their concerns are heard and taken seriously.
In conclusion, child custody decisions in cases involving abuse in Ontario are complex and require careful consideration. The safety and well-being of the child are always the top priority, and the court will take into account the full scope of the abuse, the impact on the child, and the best interests of the child when making custody decisions.
Supervised access, limiting contact, and protection orders are all tools that the court may use to help ensure the safety of the child and the non-abusive parent in divorce and separation. If one parent is abusive, it is important for the non-abusive parent to seek legal advice and take steps to protect themselves