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:

  • Live Safe - End Abuse: Parenting, from the Legal Services Society, is a fact sheet that provides brief information on your custody, guardianship and access rights.
  • Surviving Relationship Violence and Abuse, from the Legal Services Society, explains what women can do to protect themselves and their children. Chapter 9 provides further information on getting parenting orders.
Also see:

See our related common questions:

Last reviewed April 2015
abusive relationship, relationship violence, spouse abuse, custody, guardianship of children, access, spousal assault, wife assault, wife abuse, domestic violence, violence against women