Family Law... Peace Bonds

Monday, May 9th, 2016
Posted in: Family Law by Bernard Thibault, Associate

Bernie Thibault – May 2016

Can A Peace Bond Help Protect You…?

Separation of spouses or common-law partners can be an emotional time.    People do and say things they may not otherwise do.  We have all heard of situations where infidelity leads to one spouse trashing the other’s property or damaging their vehicles.  More recently we have been hearing of situations where intimate photos are being spread over social media.  Many of us have friends who have been legitimately afraid for their physical safety and some of you have experienced this situation first hand.  If you are facing a particularly acrimonious separation and are concerned for your safety, there are things that can be done to protect yourself.

One such option is a surety to keep the peace or what is otherwise commonly known as a peace bond.  A peace bond is an order of the court which places restrictions on what your former spouse can do and restrict where he/she can go.  This type of order is not imposed lightly by the court.  Since a peace bond will place restrictions on your spouse’s freedom and opens your spouse to criminal liability (if the order is breached), the court will need clear evidence that yours or your children’s safety or the safety of your property is at risk.

You can obtain a peace bond by making an application to the court.  You will be required to convince the court that you fear for your safety and that this fear is reasonable in all of the circumstances.  Since past behavior can be a strong indicator of future behavior the court will be looking to what your spouse has done or threatened to do in the past.  After hearing what your spouse has done and hearing that you are fearful, the court will determine if your fear is reasonable.

If you are successful in obtaining a peace bond, the court can order your spouse to enter into a peace bond for as long as 12 months.  If your spouse fails to enter into the peace bond (when ordered to do so) or if he/she breaches its terms he/she can be imprisoned.   The conditions imposed can vary and include the following:

  1. To keep the peace and be of good behavior;
  2. To stay away from your home, place of work or in the case of a threat to your children, a condition to stay away from their school or any place where they are regularly found;
  3. To not communicate directly or indirectly with you or your children;
  4. To abstain from the use of drugs, alcohol or other intoxicating substances;
  5. To provide a sample of bodily fluid to prove sobriety if a peace officer has reasonable grounds to believe the condition to abstain from the use of drugs, alcohol or other intoxicating substances has been breached;
  6. To provide a sample of bodily fluid to prove sobriety at regular intervals; and
  7. Not to possess firearms or other weapons.

If you or someone you know has recently ended a relationship and there is fear for safety, be sure to contact a lawyer about the option of pursuing a peace bond to put in place protections for your property and most importantly, you and your family.

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