Family law clients often express a great deal of frustration with the process of separation. This is not an easy time and can be highly emotional and conflict driven. Although we try to coach our clients to maintain reasonable and calm in the face of rather difficult circumstances, we cannot always control the behavior of the other party. In some cases, spouses may become vindictive to one another, make accusations or allegations against one another or interfere with the other’s access and relationship with the children. Family law clients often complain that such behavior on the part of their partner results in emotional and financial stress for them. The question often arises whether there is any relief available from the harm suffered by spouses from the wrongful acts of the other party. This civil area of law is known as Tort Law.
The short answer is no. The Courts have ruled that no tort actions exist for wrongful interference with access rights as between spouses. The courts were concerned about the negative implications that such civil suits may have for the children. Permitting civil actions against custodial parents is not in the best interest of the children. On a wider policy note, the courts were concerned that allowing such litigation would flood the system as all separated spouses would bring such claims.
Although no Tort action is available, consistent erratic and unreasonable behavior on the part of one spouse, which interferes with access rights or generally delays the litigation process can still be dealt with in the family courts by virtue of costs and orders for custody. In other words, if your spouse is behaving in a manner that is unreasonable and does not put your children’s best interests at the forefront, the courts may award sole custody and primary residency of the children to you. In addition, your lawyer may be able to seek costs on a full indemnity basis against your spouse for unnecessary delay tactics or unreasonable positions.
An interesting question still remains as to whether an adult child is able to bring such civil litigations against the parent. I guess we will have to wait to see what the courts think about that.
Thank you for watching. Join me next time on another interesting issue in the constant changing sphere of Family Law.
If you would like more information about this particular issue or have any other questions pertaining to your matrimonial matter, please contact us in order to book a consultation with one of our lawyers at 905-581-7222. Thank you for watching.