Estate & Family Law Blog

Kids under threat may need protection beyond basic family law


In recent years, divorces that seek to avoid confrontation have become increasingly popular in British Columbia. For many people, they offer an excellent way to end a marriage without tying up time and resources in a court battle. For some men and women, however, there may be too much conflict for this type of approach. In fact, some family law disputes can become so volatile a person may feel his or her safety, or that of a child, is in jeopardy.

Police in Red Deer, Alberta recently entered a home to check on the welfare of a man and his young daughter. Tragically, both were found deceased in the home, evidently the victims of a murder/suicide. Though the reasons for the sad outcome may never be known, an ongoing dispute over custody and spousal support may be to blame.

The man shared custody of the child with his ex wife, and had her staying with him on alternating weekends. In a May 2015, affidavit, the girl’s mother attested her ex-husband was emotionally abusive and harassed her repeatedly. She further believed he had little regard for their daughter’s well-being. In a series of text messages entered into evidence, the father complained that he did not get enough time with their daughter, and he accused his ex of taking the girl for granted.

This case is rare and extreme example of what can happen when a family law matter gets out of hand. If a parent believes his or her child’s other parent may be a threat to either the child or him or herself, steps should be taken to ensure the safety of everyone at risk. A concerned and caring British Columbia lawyer can advise on sensitive matters such as this.

Source:, “Alberta RCMP find father, 6-year-old daughter dead in home: ‘This is a tragic loss that affects our whole community’“, Meghan Potkins, May 16, 2017

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