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==Introduction==
 
==Introduction==
 
In times gone by, domestic violence was often swept under the rug. Increasingly, our legal system not only seeks to address the harms that flow from such violence but also encourages legal professionals to be proactive in assessing the potential for it.
 
In times gone by, domestic violence was often swept under the rug. Increasingly, our legal system not only seeks to address the harms that flow from such violence but also encourages legal professionals to be proactive in assessing the potential for it.
The Family Law Act requires all family dispute resolution professionals (which includes, family justice counselors, parenting coordinators, lawyers, mediators and arbitrators) to assess whether family violence may be present, and if it appears that family violence is present, to assess the extent to which the family violence may adversely affect (a) the safety of the party or a family member of that party, and (b) the ability of the party to negotiate a fair agreement. Family violence is defined to include:
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The ''[[Family Law Act]]'' requires all family dispute resolution professionals (which includes, family justice counselors, parenting coordinators, lawyers, mediators and arbitrators) to assess whether family violence may be present, and if it appears that family violence is present, to assess the extent to which the family violence may adversely affect:
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* the safety of the party or a family member of that party, and  
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* the ability of the party to negotiate a fair agreement.  
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Family violence is defined to include:
    
<blockquote><tt>"family violence" includes</tt></blockquote>
 
<blockquote><tt>"family violence" includes</tt></blockquote>
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<blockquote><blockquote><tt>(e) in the case of a child, direct or indirect exposure to family violence</tt></blockquote></blockquote>
 
<blockquote><blockquote><tt>(e) in the case of a child, direct or indirect exposure to family violence</tt></blockquote></blockquote>
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So far, the case law has determined that a broad range of actions constitute “family violence”.  The following examples are just some of the behaviors that the court has determined constitute family violence:   
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So far, the case law has determined that a broad range of actions constitute ''family violence''.  The following examples are just some of the behaviors that the court has determined constitute family violence:   
a) In B. (M.W.) v. B. (A.R.), 2013 BCSC 885, a mother was found to have committed family violence for repeatedly interfering with the father’s access to the children and refusing to settle orders that were drafted by lawyers and these actions prolonged and intensified the litigation.
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* In ''[http://canlii.ca/t/fxjb5 B. (M.W.) v. B. (A.R.)]'', 2013 BCSC 885, a mother was found to have committed family violence for repeatedly interfering with the father’s access to the children and refusing to settle orders that were drafted by lawyers and these actions prolonged and intensified the litigation.
 
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* In ''[http://canlii.ca/t/gdt2h Hokhold v. Gerbrandt]'', 2014 BCSC 1875, the Court determined that the father’s actions which included sending demanding emails to the mother, failing to pay support, and threatening to close his dental practice, constituted family violence.
b) In Hokhold v. Gerbrandt, 2014 BCSC 1874, the Court determined that the father’s actions which included, sending demanding emails to the mother, failing to pay support, and threatening to close his dental practice, constituted family violence.
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* In ''[http://canlii.ca/t/gh679 R. (C.) v. (M.A.)]'', 2015 BCPC 76 the Court found that a father’s threats to use his stronger financial position to fight the mother “[until] she lives in a box” constituted family violence.
 
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* In ''[http://canlii.ca/t/g7233 R. (L.A.) v. R. (E.J.)]'', 2014 BCSC 966, the Court found that disparaging remarks made to the children about their mother, as well as disparaging comments made to the mother in the children’s presence, constituted emotional abuse.
c) In R. (C.) v. (M.A.), 2015 BCPC, the Court found that a father’s threats to use his stronger financial position to fight the mother “[until] she lives in a box” constituted family violence.
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* ''[http://canlii.ca/t/glx9n F.(C.) v. V. (D)]'', 2015 BCPC 309, the Court found that there had been family violence as the father broke the mother’s cellphone and a picture on the wall, then kicked a hole in the bathroom door.
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d) In R. (L.A.) v. R. (E.J.), 2014 BCSC 966, the Court found that disparaging remarks made to the children about their mother, as well as disparaging comments made to the mother in the children’s presence, constituted emotional abuse.
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It is important to remember that just because you make an argument that something is ''family violence'' does not necessarily mean that a court will agree with you. A lot depends on the specific facts of your case. The following are some examples of where the court determined that there was no family violence:
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e) F.(C.) v. V. (D), 2015 BCPC 309, the Court found that there had been family violence as the father broke the mother’s cellphone and a picture on the wall, then kicked a hole in the bathroom door.
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* In ''[http://canlii.ca/t/g2zjp S. (L.) v. S. (G).]'', 2014 BCSC 187, the father wanted the Court to declare that the mother’s denial of parenting time constituted family violence. The Court refused. The Court noted that the father failed to provide any evidence of harm to the children.
It is important to remember that just because you make an argument that something is “family violence” does not necessarily mean that a court will agree with you; a lot will depend on the specific facts of your case.  The following are some examples of where the court determined that there was no family violence presence:
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a) In S. (L.) v. S. (G)., 2014 BCSC 187, the father wanted the Court to declare that the mother’s denial of parenting time constituted family violence; the Court refused. The Court noted that the father failed to provide any evidence of harm to the children.
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b) In E. (J.R.) v. 07----8 B.C. Ltd., the Court held that taking an insistent and even inflexible position in post-separation negotiations did not in that case equate to emotional or psychological abuse.  
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* In ''[http://canlii.ca/t/g1rsc E. (J.R.) v. 07----8 B.C. Ltd.]'', 2013 BCSC 2038 the Court held that taking an insistent and even inflexible position in post-separation negotiations did not in that case equate to emotional or psychological abuse.  
    
Where domestic violence exists, both family law and criminal law can be involved. It may also mean that a family law notice of claim could include a claim for payment of damages resulting from the violence.
 
Where domestic violence exists, both family law and criminal law can be involved. It may also mean that a family law notice of claim could include a claim for payment of damages resulting from the violence.

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