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Common Law Separation — Child Custody Dilemma

Posted in Children, Location, Mississauga, Ontario by Questions on April 22, 2014

Just a quick question.. My common law husband and I have periods in our relationship when arguments go beyond typical exchanging of heated words and turn into full blown insults and put downs which could be considered as abusive. I have a 2 month old daughter and while he loves her and would never ever put her in harms way I don’t feel like I want to raise my daughter in an environment where her mother is being put down.. As she gets older and this behavior continues I don’t want her to think this is an acceptable way for a woman to be treated. During my pregnancy (although he denies ever saying it) jokes and comments were made about him (and his mother.. Whom I’ve previously had issues with regarding her access to my daughter) taking my daughter away from me. This topic is a hot issue during arguments.
We are in the process of moving into a new apartment and I am very hesitant on whether or not I want to continue the relationship or just leave and move in with an older relative. The alternative would be a stable environment for both myself and my child and would be until I was able to secure my own personal residence. I am perfectly willing to sit down and work with him to come up with a parenting plan..however this older relative lives an hour away from where we are living now and I fear that the move would fuel the fire with regards to him taking steps to either file for sole custody or if we were able to agree on a parenting plan outside of court my fear would then be that he wouldn’t bring her back from a scheduled visit and then there would be nothing I or the police could do to get her back aside from actually going to court after all. This whole thing has left me wondering whether or not leaving is even worth it.. Just to save myself and my daughter all of the potential hassle and stress that may or may not occur. My question is basically what am I legally allowed to do in this situation? Are there any steps I can take aside from filing for sole custody that would ensure I had protection against her taking and keeping my child during a weekend visit?

1 Expert Comment

  1. On April 23, 2014 at 9:26 am
    A Family Lawyer said:

    The Department of Justice Canada has some reports and publications available online as to the effects of high conflict on children. You should carefully consider all implications of staying together and having the daughter observe the conflict or separating and what conflict may arise further to any breakdown of marriage. Before separation, you should consider marital counselling. Otherwise, if the marriage is over, the parenting plan would be the next step. It is best to consider retaining the services of a professional both of you would respect and adhere to their advice. This professional would be a counsellor or parenting co-ordinator. The professional could explain each of your perspectives and work through some of the concerns you have. Because your concerns are not supported and based on your feelings or fears there really isn’t an evidentiary basis on which you can ask for supervised access or something else setting in place parameters as to the access with the child, although you should consult with a family law lawyer for that advice.

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