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When a family law dispute turns ugly, it may be time to seek help

Nonconfrontational divorces get a lot of attention in Alberta. By minimizing disputes, and avoiding court as much as possible, many men and women are able to find civil ways to end their marriages. In some instances, however, there may be too much conflict and animosity between two spouses to allow for this type of divorce. In the worst-case scenarios, a family law dispute may be so bad that one party actually feels uncomfortable, or even unsafe around his or her ex-spouse.

Very recently, police responded to a request to verify the welfare of a man at his home in Red Deer. Upon arrival, officers entered the home and found the man and his 6-year-old daughter dead, possibly as the result of a murder/suicide. The man and his ex-wife were involved in an ongoing dispute over custody and support.

In 2015, the child's mother, in a sworn affidavit, stated her ex emotionally abused and harassed her without regard for their child's well-being. Included in the affidavit were transcripts of text messages from her ex-husband. In them he accused her of taking their daughter for granted, and expressed his desire to spend more time with the little girl, whom he had custody of every other weekend.

Tragedies like this one are rare in Alberta, but not unheard of. Sometimes, standard family law arrangements are not enough to ensure the safety of those who feel threatened by a parent or ex-spouse. Any person who believes he or she, or his or her child, is in danger due to a family law dispute, should speak to the authorities for help with their situation. A lawyer may also be able to help initiate the necessary legal processes for limiting a parent's access to a child, and more.

Source: Calgary Herald, "Father and daughter found dead inside Red Deer home, RCMP say", Meghan Potkins, May 15, 2017

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