Sexual Abuse Awareness Month: Taking action in your marriage

If you’re facing abuse in your marriage, it may be time to seek a Columbus divorce attorney

With over 12,000 reports of spousal abuse in Ohio in 2012, Sexual Abuse Awareness Month this April brings an opportunity to give guidance on very real issue of domestic abuse.

Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, and intimate partner violence, is a pattern of behavior characterized by the abuse of one partner by another in an intimate relationship such as marriage, cohabitation, dating or within the family. This abuse isn’t limited to physical violence. Domestic violence can take the form of sexual abuse, emotional abuse, controlling or domineering behavior, intimidation, stalking, passive abuse and economic deprivation.

There is no typical profile of an abuser or the abused.

Taking immediate action

If your spouse is violent, you must take all necessary steps to protect your safety and the safety of your children. This means calling the police if you feel you’re in immediate danger, going to a friend’s house or finding a domestic abuse shelter. Once you’re safe, it’s time to focus on legal issues.

If you fear your spouse’s reaction while you are attempting to seek assistance with us, establishing a safety plan and preparing for your exit from the relationship is essential. Unless your immediate physical safety is imperiled, try to avoid moving out of your home until you meet with one of our experienced family law lawyers. If your immediate physical safety is threatened however, call the police, have your partner arrested and pursue those charges with the prosecutor’s office.

When to ask for a temporary or civil protection order

In Ohio, spouses can ask judges for a temporary order to:

  • Restrain a spouse from coming near or contacting the other (or force a spouse to move out of the family home)
  • Establish child custody and visiting arrangements
  • Provide for spousal support (alimony) and/or child support payments
  • Order either spouse not to sell valuable assets
  • Give possession of the family home or car to one of the spouses.

Temporary orders are usually in effect until the court holds another hearing or the spouses arrive at a mutual settlement through negotiation or mediation.

Temporary orders achieve several things. First, you may be awarded child support and the court will recognize that you live with the children, usually granting you immediate physical custody. Second, your spouse will not be able to successfully claim that the children were kidnapped.

By contrast, a civil protection order (CPO) may be valid and enforceable for up to five years. Furthermore, a CPO may award temporary child support or spousal support, temporary child custody and visitation, including supervised visitation, award use and possession of an automobile or other personal property of the parties or require the abuser to seek counseling.

Seeking a divorce

Once you and your children are safe, it’s time to find a Columbus divorce attorney and take legal action. Cruelty and mental cruelty are fault grounds for divorce, and the more specific examples you can give the stronger your case will be.