Pettit And Company Logo

Can I sue my ex-spouse for violence in my family law matter?

Date Icon
Mar 29, 2023

Can I sue my ex-spouse for violence in my family law matter?

Yes, among other claims of divorce, support, division of property etc, you can sue your ex for assault, battery and psychological injuries. In fact, in a recent 2021 civil action the husband was awarded to pay nearly $800,000 in damages arising from domestic violence during the relationship.

Can my family lawyer include personal injury claims in my Notice of Family Claim?

Yes, these claims can be included as part of “Other orders” under schedule 5 of the Notice of Family claim. It is important to note If a claim for assault and battery is made in a Notice of Family law claim, it will be treated as a tort law claim and will be treated independent from the remedies under Family Law act.

Family lawyers with experience in personal injury are best equipped to prepare such claims and defend you in the most effective way possible.

What remedy will a lawyer be asking for if your ex assaulted you?

Family law and tort law are different from criminal law in a sense that as part of these proceedings we cannot blame or punish the wrong doer and for example seek jail time for them. The remedy under Family Law Act in case of family violence, would be mainly seeking limitation regarding care and decision making for the children and protection and conduct orders.

Under the tort law, we will be seeking monetary payments for causing pain, suffering, income loss and medical expenses related to the injuries etc.

Why is it important to bring all your claims at the same time?

If you don’t bring all these claims at the same time, you may not be allowed to bring the tort claims separately later. You also don’t need to pay for two separate lawyers, one running your family proceeding and a different lawyer dealing with your personal injury claim.

Depending on the facts, it may be ideal to initiate two separate proceeding (one family and one civil claim) by the same lawyer who is experienced in both areas.

The main downside of including your personal injury claim in your family claim is the retainer arrangements. Family lawyers are not allowed to work on contingency retainer (meaning that you pay your lawyers fees if they achieve a pre-agreed result in your claim) and personal injury lawyers are able to do that in a civil action.  Family Lawyers bill for their services by the hour unless they get a permission from court to work on contingency.

If I was assaulted, is it guaranteed that I would be able to recover damages from my ex-spouse?

Simply put its not easy and its not guaranteed. You need to be able to prove that you were assaulted by your ex-spouse, and this caused injuries and damages.

You may need expert reports and tons of evidence to be able to prove personal injury claims. You are also opening the door for them to investigate your medical history by making those claims.

Emotional trauma can be a significant injury you experience in an abusive relationship, However, the emotional and psychological injuries are the most difficult one to prove.

How much money can I get from my spouse if I was assaulted?

In Schuetze v. Pyper, 2021 BCSC 2209 a civil action, the husband was ordered to pay almost$800,000 in damages while the family proceeding was still in process. This was a ground-breaking and unusual amount awarded for domestic violence damages.

In Bird v. Kohl, 2012 BCSC 1424, the court awarded $75,000 for general damages, $15,000 for aggravated damages, $40,000 for lost wages, and $25,000 for lost earning capacity.

In Constantiniv. Constantini, 2013 ONSC 1626, only an amount of $15,000 was awarded for general and aggravated damages.

The amount varies based on facts of each case and evidence supporting those claims. It is important to seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer with background in both family and personal injury work as sometimes the cost of such claim could be much higher than what you could recover.

Contact Us For A Consultation

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
  • phone
  • fax

Looking for Experienced Lawyers?