Domestic violence is a serious problem that rips families apart.
Sadly, it happens more often in Ohio than people realize.
Recent statistics suggest that nearly 40% of women and 33% of men suffer some form of domestic abuse during their lives.
The national figures are slightly lower: one out of every three women and one out of every four men suffer domestic abuse at some time in their lives.
But the statistics do not shed any light on why incidents of domestic abuse in Ohio arise more frequently than the national average.
Domestic abuse allegations come with severe consequences.
Not only is your freedom at risk because of a domestic violence charge, but your family life is in jeopardy as well.
Furthermore, domestic violence charges can have a negative effect on child visitation rights. That’s why you need a strong, dedicated, and experienced domestic violence defense attorney to protect your rights.
What Is Domestic Violence in Ohio?
Ohio law defines domestic violence as causing or attempting to cause physical harm to a family or household member.
Additionally, domestic violence includes recklessly causing serious physical harm as well as threatening to cause imminent physical harm to a family or household member.
A conviction for domestic violence carries a range of possible punishments. The potential punishment range depends on the prior criminal history of the accused.
Additional aggravating factors—like a pregnant victim—can increase the penalty from a first-degree misdemeanor to a fourth or fifth-degree felony.
How Does a Protective Order Affect Child Visitation Rights?
Domestic violence charges can affect your child visitation rights before you even have a trial or are otherwise convicted of the crime.
First, Ohio courts have the authority to issue domestic violence temporary protection orders (DVTPO) when someone is arrested for domestic violence charges.
Moreover, the judge can issue the order ex parte, meaning that the judge only hears from the alleged victim and doesn’t get your side of the story.
A DVTPO remains in effect until the court issues a civil restraining order that replaces this temporary order. A DVTPO can also end when the criminal case is over.
Courts that issue DVTPOs have wide latitude to restrict the accused’s freedom.
The judge can order you to:
- Leave your home (if you live with the alleged victim);
- Stay away from the complainant and your children;
- Not to have any contact with the complainant or your children;
- Surrender the keys and garage doors openers to your house;
- Leave your pet in the home;
- Surrender all firearms, rifles, shotguns, and ammunition;
- Remain alcohol and drug-free; and
- Not maintain electronic surveillance of the complainant or your children.
The judge can issue any other order they deem necessary to protect the alleged victim and your children from potential abuse.
You have the right to contest a DVTPO. However, you should enlist the services of a knowledgeable attorney to help you.
Contesting the allegations without help from a qualified domestic violence lawyer could jeopardize your results and your future.
How Do Ohio Judges Make Child Custody and Visitation Decisions in Domestic Violence Cases?
The law in Ohio requires family court judges to apply and prioritize the best interests of the child standard when determining parental rights during a divorce or child custody matter.
The best interests of the child is a broad term that covers numerous issues.
While you might think that a domestic violence conviction and child custody have nothing to do with each other, they are very much intertwined.
Ohio law requires the judge to consider whether one of the parents has a domestic violence conviction when weighing the best interests of the child.
Therefore, the family court judge can deny you physical custody and limit your parenting time.
In the most extreme cases, the judge can even terminate your parental rights if they find that it’s in the best interests of your child.
However, the judge can also order you to have physical custody or visitation with your children if they find that is in the children’s best interest.
Regardless of how the judge rules, your job as it relates to your kids is to maintain as healthy a relationship as you can with your children — while following all court orders without exception.
A good lawyer can help you present your best self in court, so the judge sees that you are a good parent and that your kids will be best served by having you in their life.
When your children are on the line, it’s best to use a professional to protect your rights.
How Can an Experienced Lawyer from Gounaris Abboud, LPA., Help with Your Domestic Violence and Child Visitation Rights Cases?
Unfortunately, people sometimes use allegations of domestic violence to gain the upper hand in child custody and divorce disputes.
Therefore, the importance of beating your domestic violence charge when you are going through a divorce cannot be understated.
Having an experienced and courageous domestic violence defense attorney on your side is essential to protecting your parental rights and freedom.
Winning an acquittal or dismissal can help restore your parental rights and reunite you with your children.
Call Us for More Information on How to Protect Your Child Visitation Rights
The lawyers at Gounaris Abboud, LPA., have decades of combined experience defending people’s rights.
Antony Abboud is one of the founding partners, and has achieved and maintained the distinction as a “Super Lawyer” from 2016 to the present.
Between founding partner Nicholas G. Gounaris and his father, George G. Gounaris—a member of the Gounaris family has served the Dayton and Miami Valley community for over 50 years.