In one of my more popular previous Blogs titled “Family Law Disputes – Be Careful With Those Nasty Texts” I wrote about a case called Menchella v. Menchella, where the court concluded that in some more unusual circumstances, text messages could be considered “violence” for the purposes of the Family Law Act. More to the point, the court used that finding as the basis for an order granting exclusive possession of the matrimonial home to the wife.
Since that original post, the husband in Menchella asked the court for permission to appeal, claiming that the judge who made that first order had misapprehended the text messages.
The husband was unsuccessful – his application for leave to appeal was dismissed and the wife was allowed to remain in possession of the house pending their divorce trial. Although the cases across Canada were mixed on whether texts could constitute “violence” under family legislation, there was no reason to doubt the correctness of the judge’s decision, which was fact-based. Moreover, the issue was not so important that an appeal court had to consider whether text messages could be considered “violence” for these purposes.
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So what’s the bottom line? Nothing has changed: Text can still amount to “violence” for family law purposes and there is no upside to sending them. In fact, there could be serious legal repercussions if you do.
See the decisions in: Menchella v. Menchella (2013), 2013 ONSC 965; refusing leave to appeal 2012 ONSC 6304.
Shulman Law Firm is a Toronto-area firm of experienced Family Lawyers who can provide practical advice and effective representation relating to the steps and processes involved in separating and getting divorced in Ontario. Contact us to set up a consultation.