If you are fearful that your spouse or former spouse or partner or former partner will harm you or your children, you may request the court to make a restraining order. It is an order to protect you and your children who are in your custody. This order only applies to your former spouse whom you married or with whom lived together for any period of time. If you have never lived with the person, you will not be able to obtain a restraining order against the person.
The Content Of The Order
Usually the order will list conditions the person you are afraid of must obey. It can say the person must not come to your home, your work or your children’s school or other places you often go.
You should go to the family court house in the municipality where you or the other person lives; or if you fear for the safety of your children or children in your custody, go to a family court in the municipality where the child(ren)ordinarily live.
If you have not started a case in the family court, you need to file an application. In most cases, you need to attend a case conference before you can ask the court to make an order. However, if your case is urgent, you can bring a motion to get a restraining order right away.
If you are bringing a motion without notice to the other party, you have to show that 1) you do not know where the other person can be found; 2) There is an immediate danger that your children will be taken out of Ontario or that you or your children will be harmed; or 3) providing notice in advance would probably have serious consequences.
If you are bringing a motion to ask for an order right away, in your motion materials you will need to tell the judge what the urgency or hardship is (that is, the reason that you cannot wait several weeks to get the restraining order). The motion materials must be served to the person you are brining a motion against.
If the situations above don’t apply to you, you have to file an application to start the process. You need to complete the Application and a Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) Restraining Order Information Form, which is only available at the family court counter. The court clerk at the family court counter can sign and date the application and provide you with a first court date.
If a restraining order is granted, the information form will be sent to the police along with a copy of the restraining order.
If the motion with notice or an application it brought, the other person will have a chance to respond to your claim. You need to attend the court to explain to the court why a restraining order should be granted. The judge will decide whether to grant your request based on the evidence.
If your motion was made without notice to the other person, the judge will have to decide whether to grant a temporary restraining order without hearing from the other person. If an order is granted, the judge will ask you both to come to court so that the other person can tell their side of the story. At that time, the judge will decide whether to continue the order.
What Happens If The Person Disobeys The Order?
If the person disobeys the order, the police can arrest the person.
Develop A Safety Plan
Whether or not a restraining order is granted, you need to develop a safety plan for you and your children. A restraining order does not guarantee that the person will obey the order.
You don’t need a family lawyer to get a restraining order, but having a lawyer is recommended in complicated cases and cases there may be potential immigration consequences.
Disclaimer: Use of this site and sending or receiving information through it does not establish a solicitor / client relationship. The views expressed and the content provided on this blog is for non-profit educational purposes. It is not, and is not intended to be, legal advice on any specific set of facts. The use of this website does not create a solicitor-client (attorney-client) relationship. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer directly.