The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a group that represents leading practitioners in the field of matrimonial law, recently conducted a survey of its members concerning domestic violence trends. According to the survey, incidents of domestic violence during divorce proceedings have been on the rise over the past five years.
Thirty-two percent of responding attorneys reported an increase in domestic violence disputes, while only 6% noted a decrease. In addition, attorneys have also noticed a rise in the use of restraining orders in divorce proceedings—36% noted an increase compared to 8% observing a decrease. What is more concerning is that a majority of responding lawyers (63%) did not believe that the courts are doing enough to adequately protect domestic violence victims in divorce proceedings.
In this regard, James McLaren, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, stated, “We believe that the courts and all matrimonial lawyers, by virtue of our daily work with countless families throughout the nation, can provide greater leadership and support in helping to confront this issue.” According to the AAML, the group has been at the forefront of protecting domestic violence victims. The group was also an early and strenuous supporter of the Federal Violence Against Women Act. In addition, they have recently launched a national task force to “address domestic violence in a variety of communities and provide education for judges, lawyers, legislators, and law enforcement.”
Protecting Options in Domestic Violence Disputes
Under Ohio law, a domestic violence victim can obtain a civil protection order against the abuser who is a family member or resides in the same residence and who attempts to cause or recklessly causes bodily injury or places another person by the threat of force in fear of imminent serious physical harm. Depending on the situation, a court may issue a temporary ex parte protection order, which means without the other side present. These orders are temporary and generally last for only 7 to 10 days.
Conversely, a civil protection order is used when the abuser has the opportunity to be present and may last up to five years. The length and terms of a civil protection order will depend on the facts and circumstances involved in each situation. One should reach out to an experienced domestic violence attorney when seeking a protection order.
Civil Lawsuits in Domestic Violence Disputes
A recent article in The Columbus Dispatch brought attention to a little-known option for victims of domestic violence: civil lawsuits. The victim highlighted in the article is pursuing a civil lawsuit against her ex-husband to obtain punitive and compensatory damages in connection with her pain and suffering and medical and counseling bills. While divorces and protection orders help domestic violence victims escape abusive relationships, civil lawsuits, such as intentional assault and battery by spouses, allow domestic violence victims to obtain compensation for their suffering.
Contact a Cleveland Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have questions about how to protect you and your family in a domestic violence situation, a Cleveland domestic violence attorney can help protect you and your family’s rights. Laubacher & Co.’s Cleveland domestic violence attorneys have experience helping victims obtain civil protection orders and helping victims obtain compensation for their damages. Contact our Laubacher & Co.’s domestic violence attorneys today for a free consultation.