Smith, Meier & Webb, LPA

Ohio family law: Not just one type of domestic violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. In the spirit of this, this column wanted to go over the basics of domestic violence and how a family law attorney can help victims of such violence in Ohio move forward. When people think about domestic violence, they think about the physical side of it. Believe it or not, there are several forms of domestic violence, some of which have nothing to do with causing physical harm.

While physical abuse is thought to be the most common form of domestic violence -- it is certainly the most recognizable -- there are at least four other forms that deserve attention as well. These are emotional, sexual, financial and psychological. When a victim is subjected to frequent verbal assaults meant to destroy his or her self-worth, he or she is said to be a victim of emotional abuse. In most states, this form of abuse alone is often not considered enough to pursue domestic violence charges against an abuser.

Sexual abuse comes in many forms. It is not just about rape or assault. Those whose partners forbid them from using contraceptive devices may be considered victims of sexual assault. It is very broad in its interpretation and can apply to numerous situations.

Financial abuse has to do with who controls the money. While it is not uncommon for one partner to take on a more active roll in finances than the other, this goes beyond that. Financial abuse occurs when one partner withholds money or forbids his or her significant other from working outside the home or obtaining an education. This makes the victim completely dependent and at the mercy of his or her abuser.

Finally, psychological abuse. This type of abuse is basically any behavior exhibited by an abuser that causes a victim to fear for his or her safety. This alone, like emotional abuse, may not be enough to bring domestic violence charges against an abuser. Every case is different, though.

Victims of domestic violence in Ohio or elsewhere often feel alone and option-less. While leaving a violent or controlling relationship may seem to be an impossible task, it is possible. An experienced family law attorney can help victims of domestic violence seek orders of protection. Further assistance can also be provided to help those who are married to their abusers file for marriage dissolutions.

Source: FindLaw, "Types of Domestic Violence", Accessed on Oct. 19, 2017

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