Divorcing an Abusive Spouse

Intimate partner violence can take many forms, including physical violence, sexual assault, and emotional abuse. Although both genders can suffer abuse in a relationship, statistics show that women are more often victims in intimate relationships. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police reports that women are more likely to experience abuse at the hands of an intimate partner; women are also at greater risk for severe violence.

If you are considering separating from an abusive partner, you’re not alone. There are methods available to ensure you and your children remain safe during the divorce process.

Help for Victims of Abuse

If you have suffered any form of abuse in your marriage or other intimate relationship, you have important rights and options. The first step is to acknowledge the signs of abuse, whether they are physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual in nature. There are many excellent counselling resources available that can help victims of abuse rebuild their lives after leaving an abusive relationship. Counsellors and other professionals can also help you gather the evidence you need to gain primary custody of your children in cases where the other parent has been abusive toward them.

It’s also important to ensure your safety. In some cases, it’s necessary to obtain a peace bond or restraining order to prevent an abusive spouse from contacting you and/or your children. A peace bond is issued by a Justice of the Peace in cases where a person has threatened violence against another person. A restraining order, which is sometimes referred to as a “no-contact order,” is issued by the Family Court.