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How can domestic violence affect rights to the family home?

Domestic violence is a serious matter in Ontario family law and the Canadian Criminal Code. In addition to the impact domestic violence allegations can have on child custody and spousal support, the court may grant one spouse exclusive possession of the matrimonial home if the other spouse has committed violence or made threats of violence in the home.

Even when allegations of domestic violence are untrue, the situation must be carefully handled to reach a fair divorce settlement. The stakes are too high to take a different approach.

Domestic violence is a very real threat in many people’s lives, and allegations of home violence should always be taken seriously.

Unfortunately, though, in some cases, one spouse will use a false allegation of abuse in order to gain an advantage over the other spouse. This untoward tactic is sometimes used in an effort to get one spouse out of the home with a court order that gives the other spouse exclusive possession of the home.

Before a court will grant an exclusive possession order, the court will consider a number of factors:

  • The safety of the spouses and any children in the home
  • The best interests of the children
  • The financial circumstances of each spouse
  • Whether the spouses have access to other living arrangements
  • Whether there is any need to sell the property

With more than 20 years of experience, family lawyer Elliot S. Birnhoim represents clients who are seeking or defending against an exclusive possession order. For more on these matters, please see our previous post, “Things you should know about exclusive possession orders in Ontario.”

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