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Understanding How Domestic Violence Impacts Family Matters in Alberta

Domestic violence in Alberta is persistent and can affect families in deep ways that impact their present and future lives. False accusations of the same are also damaging. In relationship breakdowns, both occur. In many cases, a cause for the dissolution is domestic violence while in other cases, false accusations are made to exact revenge on a spouse, or to try to obtain a legal position. In both circumstances, the effects are damaging to all involved parties - most especially the children.

At Wilson Law, our family lawyer, Theresa Wilson, will guide you through the process, explaining everything you need to know to be safe and adhere to the rules. The latter is particularly important if there are children involved and one of the spouses seeks child support and/or child custody. Contact us at 587-391-2273 to schedule an Initial Consultation and get more information.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Alberta?

Generally speaking, it is an abusive act committed by one household or family member against another. In some cases, abuse that is not physical can be considered domestic violence. Examples include financial abuse, emotional abuse, isolation, and stalking. Also, there are different circumstances where domestic violence may be charged, including: 

  • When one roommate is abusive towards another roommate
  • When two people share a child together but no longer live with one another
  • A couple no longer lives together due to divorce or separation

When a person has been accused of domestic violence, there are several different ways their accuser may be able to prove their case.

Physical Evidence

Physical evidence tends to carry a lot of weight in proving domestic violence. Physical evidence can include photographs and videotaped evidence of the injuries. Doctor reports, items used in an assault (e.g., a weapon), and damaged property are also considered physical evidence.

Eye Witnesses

If anyone else saw domestic violence take place, their testimony may be used to prove that the domestic violence occurred. This includes any police officers that may have responded to an emergency call to the place the domestic violence occurred. It can also include neighbors, co-workers, friends, family, and others.

Expert Witnesses

Experts on domestic violence can provide evidence in several different ways. They may produce reports after examining the survivor(s) and analyzing the case. They can also help educate the judge and jury on domestic violence and how it has occurred and impacted the current case.

How Does Domestic Violence Impact in the Courts in Alberta?

If there is domestic violence occurring in a family, having to wait a certain period of time can be dangerous. Our lawyer, Theresa Wilson, can advise you on the best steps to take. In some cases, if you are the victim of the violence, you can seek an Emergency Protection Order. The at-fault spouse will likely be barred from returning to the marital home, and that may give you some breathing room to take action to protect  yourself and your children.

Also, if domestic violence has occurred, it is not recommended that you enter into any kind of mediation with the at-fault spouse.  A abusive spouse can use these meetings to attempt to overtake and bully through a result that is not fair to both parties.  Our lawyer, Theresa Wilson, can advise you about the best steps to take.

How Does Domestic Violence Impact Property and Debt Distribution in Alberta?

In Alberta,  generally speaking the Court acts on the presumption that all marital property should be split evenly between the parties; however, domestic violence may have an impact on the distribution. The Courts may consider how the abuse may have caused the abused spouse to not be able to work or other ways in which the abuse affected the ability of each party to contribute to the marriage.

How Does Domestic Violence Impact Alimony in Alberta?

Spousal Support, is not designed to be a punishment; however,  if an abused spouse is able to show that the domestic violence impacted his or her financial ability to become self-supporting  the Courts will consider that in determining Spousal Support. 

How Does Domestic Violence Impact Child Custody in Alberta?

A history of domestic violence may lead the Court to determine that the abusive party is not a safe person to have custody of the children, or may feel that visitation must be supervised. The Courts will always consider the evidence and decide what is in the best interests of the child in that situation. 

On the other hand, if one spouse lies about domestic violence and it's proven in the Courts, the judge will look unfavorably on that spouse. The result could be a custody order that favors the other spouse. Thus, it is important not to accuse unless there is real abuse or threat of abuse.

Contact a Family Lawyer in Alberta Today

Relationships breaking down are hard enough without the added layer of domestic violence. But if there is abuse in the family, the Courts need to know. There are ways to get help and protection. Our Lawyer, Theresa Wilson, is here to make sure you get the advice and assistance that you need. Contact us at 587-391-2273 or fill out our online form to schedule an Initial Consultation today.