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BC entitlement to spousal support

Vancouver Family Violence Emotional Abuse lawyers handle cases of family violence involving emotional abuse as well as physical abuse. Lorne N MacLean, QC has obtained protection orders including a rare lifetime protection order.

Vancouver Family Violence Emotional Abuse Lawyers 1-877-602-9900

A recent BC Supreme Court decision reviewed the law on this important topic. Click here for more information on how to stop family violence. The Court provided a cogent summary of the law on family violence and what it can be comprised of:

“Family violence” is clearly a broad term, not limited to physical violence. It includes emotional and psychological abuse, which are the allegations before me.

[47] While each case is factually unique, certain general principles emerge from the case authorities. I will highlight only a few cases that have discussed and applied these principles. For example, in D.N.L. v. C.N.S., 2014 BCSC 1417, Pearlman J. held that demeaning remarks about the other parent to the child, threats to use physical force to compel the child to accompany the parent, and suggestions that the other parent was responsible for the conflict in the family was emotional abuse that constituted “family violence”. Pearlman J. held at paras. 71-75:

[71] As a result of the respondent’s derogatory remarks about her mother and maternal grandparents, his outbursts of anger, his refusal to permit the child to return to her mother’s home when she becomes distraught in his care, and the child’s perception that her father is more interested in scoring points in his conflict with the claimant than meeting her needs, E.M.H.L.-S. is very angry with her father and is apprehensive about any contact with him. She wants no further contact with the respondent until he demonstrates that he is capable of curbing his anger and putting her needs ahead of his own.

Section 1 FLA Vancouver Family Violence Emotional Abuse Definition

[72] Under s. 1 of the FLA, family violence includes psychological or emotional abuse of a family member, including intimidation, harassment, coercion or threats. Section 37(2) requires the court, in determining what order is in the best interest of the child to consider the impact of any family violence on the child’s safety, security or well-being. I find that the respondent’s demeaning remarks about the claimant, his repeated assertions to the child that she has been “brain washed” or manipulated by her mother, his threats to use physical force to compel her to accompany him and his suggestions to the child that her mother is responsible for the conflict that divides this family constitute emotional abuse of E.M.H.L.-S. That abuse undermines the child’s emotional safety, security and well-being.

Protecting A Child From Vancouver Family Violence Emotional Abuse 

[73] Under s. 37(3) of the FLA, an order is not in the best interests of a child unless it protects to the greatest extent possible, the child’s physical, psychological and emotional safety, security and well-being. I find that in all of the circumstances of this case, it is not in E.M.H.L.-S.’s best interest to make an order compelling her to have parenting time with her father. As Dr. Waterman has reported, forcing the child to have contact with her father now may adversely affect any prospects for a more positive relationship in the future. An order requiring continuing contact with the respondent against the child’s wishes would be contrary to her emotional well-being and would not serve her best interests. Accordingly, this Court’s order of May 8, 2013 defining the respondent’s parenting time with E.M.H.L.-S. is terminated. The respondent will cease to have court-ordered parenting time with the child.

[74] In reaching this decision I have considered the respondent’s proposal that he continue to have the parenting time ordered on May 8, 2013, but with the child having the ability to terminate any visit by calling her mother. In my view an order on those terms would do little to reduce the child’s anxiety or her resistance to contact with her father. One of the factors contributing to the child’s refusal to have parenting time with C.N.S. is her experience of her father refusing to permit her to call her mother when she has become distraught while in the respondent’s care. Regrettably, C.N.S. still does not appreciate the effect of his behaviour on his relationship with the child.

[75] The respondent will only begin to build an enduring relationship with E.M.H.L.-S. when he demonstrates that he is capable of changing his ways and putting her interests ahead of his own. That is likely to take some time. That process will not be advanced by imposing upon the child a schedule for parenting time that she does not want and with which she refuses to comply.Then in s. 72, he writes — pardon me, in paragraph 72, he writes:

Case Authorities On Vancouver Family Violence Emotional Abuse 

[48] In K.R. v. J.D., 2017 BCSC 182, Jenkins J. held that the respondent’s derogatory and demeaning comments regarding the claimant, on occasion in the child’s presence, clearly amount to family violence in that they disturbed the child and caused the child emotional harm: para. 17.

[49] In L.A.R. v. E.J.R., 2014 BCSC 966, Schultes J. held the father’s disparaging comments to the mother in the presence of the children and the father’s conduct in showing the oldest child lengthy and acrimonious text messages between the parties amounted to emotional abuse constituting family violence: para. 149.

Not Everything Is Vancouver Family Violence Emotional Abuse Says Court of Appeal

[50] I am also mindful of the comments of this court in L.S. v. G.S., 2014 BCSC 187 (aff’d 2014 BCCA 334), that a court must also be careful not to label conduct as family violence where there is no evidence the child has suffered any physical or emotional harm as a result of the parent’s conduct and for other reasons: para. 26. The provisions in the FLA relating to family violence, it must be kept in mind, are intended to address serious social issues and to protect children and spouses from actual harm or danger.

If you have a difficult child custody case, need a protection order or have been falsely accused of family violence contact us early on at 1-877-602-9900 to meet with us across BC and in Calgary.