In Ohio and throughout the United States, domestic violence is a serious problem that affects thousands of innocent household members, including spouses, parents, children, and siblings. To combat this problem and provide certain protections, Ohio (as every state does) allows domestic violence victims to obtain protection orders against abusers. It is important that domestic violence victims are familiar with their rights under the law and the process to obtain protection orders.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Under Ohio law, domestic violence is defined as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts against a family or household member:
- Attempting to cause or recklessly causing bodily injury;
- Placing another person by the threat of force in fear of imminent serious physical harm, menacing by stalking, or aggravated trespass;
- Committing any act with respect to a child that would result in the child being an abused child; or
- Committing a sexually-oriented offense.
A family or house member includes someone one has a child in common with, even if the couple has never lived together. A household member also includes a spouse, ex-spouse, parent, foster parent, stepparent, child or stepchild or anyone related by blood or marriage, but only if they live together or have lived together in the past. Notably, the definition excludes a girlfriend or boyfriend.
Types of Domestic Violence Protection Orders
If any household member physically hurts or attempts to hurt another household member then one may petition the court for a Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order. There are two types of protection orders. The first is a temporary ex parte protection order, which allows a court to grant immediate protection to a domestic violence victim if there is “good cause.” Good cause includes immediate and present danger in which a family or household member has been threatened with bodily harm or with a sexually-oriented offense. Good cause also includes a situation in which the abuser has previously been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a domestic violence crime against the victim.
An ex parte order is granted without both sides being present and usually lasts until a hearing for a civil protection order. This usually occurs within 7 to 10 days of the ex parte order being entered. The second type is a civil protection order, which may be granted after a full hearing involving the abuser and the victim, or a hearing at least giving the abuser the opportunity to appear. A civil protection order may last up to five years. The length of a protection order will necessarily depend on the parties involved, the facts of the situation, and any type of relief awarded.
In addition to requiring an individual to refrain from abusing or from committing sexually-oriented offenses against the family or household members, a protection order may provide several other forms of relief, including:
- Requiring an individual to seek counseling;
- Requiring an individual to refrain from entering the residence, school, business, or place of employment of the petitioner or family or household member;
- Awarding custody of a child;
- Requiring an individual to pay monthly support;
- Evicting the abuser and obtain possession of a premise; or
- Forbidding an individual to possess or purchase a firearm.
Whether or not a court decides to award some, all or none of these benefits will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. An experienced domestic violence attorney can provide counsel on this process.
Contact a Cleveland, Ohio Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have questions regarding domestic violence law in Ohio or how to protect yourself, the Cleveland domestic violence attorneys at Laubacher & Co.can help protect you and your family. Contact our attorneys today to find out how we can help protect you and your family.