Ohio Domestic Violence Laws

This page provides information about Ohio laws and court rules pertaining to domestic violence. If you have questions about how these laws and rules pertain to your personal situation, we invite you to call us at 440-462-1882 for additional information.

Domestic Violence Defined

Ohio law defines domestic violence as any one or more of the following acts committed against a family or household member:

  • Attempting to cause or recklessly causing bodily injury
  • Threatening use of force causing fear of imminent serious physical harm
  • Acts constituting child abuse
  • Sexually oriented criminal offenses

The law defines a "family or household member" to include anyone who currently resides or previously resided with the perpetrator, spouses and former spouses, cohabitating partners, parents and children of the perpetrator or his or her spouse, parents of shared children.

Seeking Relief For Domestic Violence

In Ohio, domestic violence victims can seek relief directly, or a parent or adult household member can file a petition on the victim's behalf. The petition for relief must describe the nature and extent of the domestic violence and the victim's relationship to the perpetrator.

Individuals who need immediate protection can request an "ex parte" hearing (a hearing without the perpetrator present), and the Ohio courts will conduct the hearing the same day that the petition is filed. Ex parte hearings result in short-term relief in the form of a temporary protection order, and then a full hearing will be scheduled within 10 days.

Relief Available To Domestic Violence Victims And Their Families And Pets

Following the full hearing, the court has the power to issue a long-term protection order for the victim, the victim's children and even the victim's pets living in the home where the violence occurred. This order may:

  • Require the perpetrator to refrain from abusing or committing sexually oriented offenses against the victim and other family or household members
  • Grant possession of a shared residence to the victim and the victim's family and household members, to the exclusion of the perpetrator of the domestic violence
  • Require the perpetrator to provide suitable, alternate housing for the victim and his or her family and household members
  • Temporarily allocate parental rights and responsibilities to the victim
  • Require the perpetrator to continue to pay alimony and child support
  • Require the perpetrator to seek counseling
  • Prohibit the perpetrator from visiting the victim or the victim's family or household members at home, work and other locations
  • Prohibit the perpetrator from moving or harming any pets belonging to the victim, and authorize the victim to have his or her pets removed from the perpetrator's possession

Modification Of Domestic Violence Protection Orders

If the perpetrator seeks modification of a protection order, the Ohio court with jurisdiction will conduct a hearing taking into consideration:

  • Whether the victim consents to the modification
  • Whether the victim fears the perpetrator
  • The nature of the current relationship between the victim and the perpetrator
  • The parties' living circumstances, including the relative proximity of homes and workplaces
  • Whether the victim and perpetrator have children together
  • Whether the perpetrator has complied with the terms of the protection order
  • Whether the perpetrator is involved with illegal drugs or alcohol
  • Whether the perpetrator has been convicted of or pleaded guilty of a violent crime since the protection order was issued
  • Whether the perpetrator is subject to any other protection orders
  • Whether the perpetrator has undergone counseling or therapy
  • The length of time since the protection order was issued
  • The length of time since the last incident of domestic violence
  • The victim's current age and health

Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court Forms

In order to file for a protection order in Cuyahoga County, victims of domestic violence must follow the rules prescribed by the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court. The court provides various forms, instructions and other resources online. To make sure that you file the forms correctly and receive an adequate protection order as soon as possible, we strongly recommend that you speak with an attorney.

Do Not Hesitate To Reach Out For Help

If you or a family member is suffering from domestic violence, the attorneys at Laubacher & Co. will act quickly to make sure that you are legally protected against further harm. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, you can contact us online, or call 440-462-1882. Get a fresh start today.

We are located in Rocky River and help victims in the Cleveland area.