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How Domestic Violence Can Impact Your Divorce Case

Updated: Mar 5, 2019



Former Ohio State Buckeyes Assistant Coach Zach Smith’s firing has thrust domestic abuse in America back into the spotlight. Behind the story are the statistics:1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men aged 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Domestic abuse may impact your divorce case in many ways, and seeking the advice of an experienced attorney is vital.

Seeking Help

If the fear for personal safety is at play, seeking shelter is key, both physically and through the court. In Ohio, victims of domestic violence can petition the court for a Civil Protection Order (CPO). Should the court determine the victim’s allegations meet specific criteria, the victim is awarded an ex parte CPO. Thereafter, a review hearing is set at which both parties can present evidence. If the victim is able to prove his or her initial allegation(s), a full CPO is granted for a term of up to five (5) years. The victim may also be granted exclusive use of the marital home through the CPO and/or through the duration of a divorce case, and should the court deem the allegations to be true, the offending spouse may be ordered to stay away from the protected parties (victim, children, etc.).

How Domestic Violence May Impact Your Case Outcome

If domestic abuse is proven, it will likely heavily impact the outcome of the custody portion of a case. Depending on the facts, ramifications can span from termination of custody to supervised visitation. Exchange of parenting time can also be ordered to occur in a public place.

Abuse during the marriage may also impact the final distribution of the marital estate. If the victim was unable to maintain employment as a direct result of abuse within the home, the court may take this into account when making a final decision on spousal support and property distribution.

Help is available to victims of domestic abuse. Finding a divorce attorney that understands the emotional needs and financial intricacies of divorce cases involving abuse is a crucial first step.


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