The breakdown of a family relationship is always hard. But it can be unbearable if the romantic relationship is replaced with a hostile, violent, or vexatious one. So what do you do then?
Assuming all practical fixes break down, the parties can resort to one of three court applications:
1) Emergency Protection Order (EPO),
2) Queen’s Bench Protection Order (QBPO), or
3) Injunction against harassing behavior.
Both EPOs and Queen’s Bench Protection Orders are creatures of statute and are designed to protect against family violence. The difference is that EPOs do not require notice to the other party, where QBPOs do. The Court of Queen’s Bench also can issue an injunction which orders one party to stop harassing the other (even when there is no fear of violence).
But before going to the courts, consider your options. If there are property or parenting issues to resolve, getting a protection order is a surefire way to add cost and difficulty in resolving those other issues. Weigh those other costs against the likely benefit of the order.
And ultimately remember that the effectiveness of these orders relies on respect for, and fear of, the court. If you are actually afraid of violence make sure to look after the practical protections as well. Change the locks. Install a security system. Move. Get a big dog.
If you would like help dealing with a harassing spouse, or responding to tactical allegations of harassment, please get in contact with me. These are serious problems – don’t ignore them.