menu icon

Common Questions

What happens with parenting of the children in cases of spousal abuse?

A new BC Family Law Act came into effect March 18, 2013. Under this Act, the terms “custody”, and “access” were replaced by the terms “parenting time”, “parental responsibilities” and “contact with a child”, while the term “guardianship” has a new meaning. The resources below explain the new terms.

A person leaving an abusive relationship may be able to apply for a court order to limit an ex-partner’s parenting time, parental responsibilities or contact with a child. A judge will look at what is in the child's "best interests".

If you are concerned about the safety of your children, it is best to take them with you when you leave a violent or abusive relationship. There are safe houses and transition houses that can give you and your children a safe place to stay if you are being abused.

Good starting points include:

Need more help?
  • Family LawLINE, by Legal Services Society, is run by lawyers who give legal advice about family law issues such as parenting time or contact/access, guardianship/custody, child support, spousal support, property division, family agreements, adoption, and court procedures. To be considered for this service, call the LSS Call Centre at the hours listed on the HelpMap.
  • Legal Advocacy and Services Program, by Battered Women's Support Services, provides legal advocacy, advice & support for women who have experienced violence.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

Last reviewed July 2017
abusive relationship, relationship violence, spouse abuse, custody, guardianship of children, access, spousal assault, wife assault, wife abuse, domestic violence, violence against women, VAW, gender-based violence, GBV