You may be able to visit your children if you are on bail for a domestic violence charge. The court always considers what is in the child's best interest when making decisions about access. When there has been a domestic assault charge, the courts might allow the accused parent visitation but will likely require the parent to meet certain conditions in order to see their children.
Bail Conditions for Access to Minor Children in a Domestic Violence Case
Some examples of the conditions the court could impose in order for you to see your children include:
- A third party must supervise any visits with the child or children.
- You must attend anger management counseling.
The court will probably not allow you to visit your children if any of the following allegations apply to your situation:
- There was frequent spousal abuse in front of your child or children.
- You are unable to control your temper or violent tendencies.
- You neglected your child or children.
- You were violent toward your child or children.
If an older child tells the judge they do not want to see you, the court will consider that testimony too.
What a Judge Will Consider When Determining Bail Conditions
A judge granting bail to an accused person and determining the release terms needs to know the following:
- Whether the Family Court has issued any orders
- If you are involved in any Family Court proceedings
- What arrangements are currently in place for access to the children with the complainant
- Contents of the risk assessment completed by the police
- If there is a previous history of violence
- If a child protection agency imposes restrictions on access to the child or children
One of the most common bail conditions judges impose in domestic abuse cases is that the accused does not contact the complainant ("no-contact" conditions). The court may also restrict the accused person from going within a certain distance of the complainant's home and place of employment (a "no-go" term), from using drugs (except for medications prescribed by a doctor) and alcohol, and from possessing weapons. The judge may also restrict access to the children.
How an Experienced Ontario Domestic Violence Lawyer can Help
The issue with a domestic violence charge is that it can take quite some time to resolve. In the meantime, you still want to exercise your rights to access your children. Suppose the judge in your criminal case issues a "blanket" bail order that you can't communicate with the complainant. In that case, making arrangements for access to the child or children becomes challenging. You can't even contact the complainant to obey the court order to advise them that you are running late for a pick-up or drop-off. You would be barred from communicating with the complainant if a child became severely ill or needed hospital treatment while in your care.
Your domestic violence defence lawyer can argue to include exceptions to the no-contact order to allow contact with the complainant by e-mail or text for conversations related to child access. Your defence lawyer can also state that you and the complainant must be able to have contact through your respective family law lawyers.
Cutting off all contact may not ultimately be in the best interests of the children of the marriage when all the facts are considered.
Contact an Experienced Ontario Domestic Violence Lawyer for Advice
Your relationship with your children is important to you. Don't assume you can't visit them while on bail for a domestic violence charge. This isn't necessarily true. You need advice you can count on during a stressful time like this. The experienced and knowledgeable domestic violence defence lawyers at Kruse Law will work diligently to ensure your case has the best possible outcome.
Schedule a free meeting and quote, or call us toll-free at 1-800-699-0806 to speak with one of our professionals today.