R.C. 3113.31 Interpretation

In Gough v. Triner, 7th Dist. No. 05 CO 33, 2006 Ohio 3522, the Court reviewed whether the statute providing for a DVCPO was in conflict with the Defense of Marriage Amendment. The Court examined R.C. 3113.31, which allows a trial court to issue a DVCPO if a petitioner can prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the petitioner is a family or household member of the respondent and that the petitioner is in immediate and present danger of domestic violence by the respondent. R.C. 3113.31(D). A person is a "family or household member" if, among other things, he or she is "a person living as a spouse," which is defined as, "a person who is living or has lived with the respondent in a common law marital relationship, who otherwise is cohabiting with the respondent, or who otherwise has cohabited with the respondent within five years prior to the date of the alleged occurrence of the act in question." R.C. 3113.31(A)(3)(a)(ii) and 3113.31(A)(4). This definition is almost identical to the one used in the criminal domestic violence statute under review in the instant appeal. "Domestic violence" is also defined in R.C. 3113.13 in the same fashion as it is described in the criminal domestic violence statute.