Hi, my name is Veronica Yeung and I am an associate with the Feldstein Family Law Group.
Welcome to my video about restraining orders in family law.
Generally, in Ontario, there are two avenues to obtain a restraining order: through the criminal courts or through the family courts. The main difference between these are simply that the family law and criminal law have different criteria for their respective courts to grant the restraining order.
Here, I will focus on restraining orders in the family court context.
Against whom can a Family law Restraining Order be Made?
According to the Family Law Act, a court may make an interim or final restraining Order against:
- A spouse or former spouse of the person applying for the restraining order; or
- A person the applicant is cohabitating with or has cohabited with for any period of time, even if that person is not a spouse or former spouse.
Under the second category, the term ‘cohabitating’ in this context refers to someone the applicant has lived together with in a conjugal relationship (i.e. a marriage like relationship), regardless of whether they are married or unmarried.
This means that the family Court can grant a restraining order against a husband, wife, live-in girlfriend or live-in boyfriend, but not your spouses’ friend or relative.
What are the grounds for a Family Law Restraining Order?
For the family court to grant a restraining order, you must prove that you have reasonable grounds to fear for your safety or that of a child in your custody from one of the people listed defined above.
Essentially, this means that there must be some objective factual basis for the court to conclude there exists a reasonable danger that the person the restraining order is requested against will molest, annoy, or harass you. However, the level of “annoyance” must be more than a trivial or casual annoyance.
What does the Restraining Order do?
If the Court finds that a restraining order is appropriate in your circumstances, they can order a number of different remedies, including:
- restraining the person in whole or in part from directly or indirectly communicating or contacting with you or any child in your custody,
- restraining the person from coming within a specified distance of one or more locations where you may be, or
- Any other provision that the court considers appropriate in the circumstances.
Thank you for watching.
If you have questions about your family law matter, please visit our website at www.separation.ca or call us at 905-415-1636 to book a consultation.