Cleveland Domestic Violence Lawyer
Helping Protect Your Rights & Ensure Your Safety
Being involved in a domestic violence case can be incredibly stressful. Domestic violence laws can seem somewhat murky. If you are involved in a domestic violence situation, you may be unsure of how to proceed.
At Laubacher & Co., we will work with you to protect your rights and well-being. We will shoulder the legal burden of your case, so you can instead focus on maintaining your mental and physical health and safety.
How Is Domestic Violence Defined in Ohio?
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 the use of force causing fear of imminent serious physical harm;
- Acts constituting child abuse, and;
- Sexually-oriented criminal offenses.
The law defines a "family or household member" as: anyone who currently resides or previously resides 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). 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 a full hearing will be scheduled within ten 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 them to have their pets removed from the perpetrator's possession.
Modifying 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, and
- The victim's current age and health.
Let our Cleveland domestic violence lawyers work with you to find the best path forward in your domestic violence case.