Domestic Violence – Your Legal Rights As Abused Spouse

The first and the most economical place to learn about spousal abuse rights is of course the library; however a more focused and knowledgeable source is your county’s bar association.


Most States have statutes in place governing domestic violence which is probably the most common form of violence between two individual who are in a relationship (however, parental abuse is on the rise as well, sadly).

Here is how Illinois defines it:

It includes:

physical abuse of one family member by another,

threats to a family or household member and other kinds of harassment or intimidation.

mental abuse

E.g. another State’s Penal Code has this definition:

The Legislature hereby finds that spousal abusers present a clear and present danger to the mental and physical well-being of the citizens of the State of California.

The law that deals with domestic violence broadly defines the term “family” to include spouses, parents, step-parents, children, persons who live together, and people in a dating relationship or formerly in a dating relationship.


A spouse of live-in partner has a fundamental right to not receive physical blows or assault or injuries from another individual–and that includes a domestic partner or other in the same household. The statutes governing these acts are generally called Domestic Violence Act or Penal Code for each State.
If you are abused by your spouse or live-in partner, you can call the police and ask them to arrest him,
you can go to the police station and file charges against him. Typically, the State Attorney’s office will prosecute the violator.
you can obtain various forms of protective orders issued by the court–Order of Protection, Restraint Order, Spousal Protective Order or Emergency Protective Order. These types of orders can protect you and your children from the abusive spouse.
Domestic violence is common in divorce cases. If you are filing for divorce and your spouse has harmed or threatened to harm you or your children, you can get an Order of Protection as part of a divorce.

Jeffrey Roberts

Emily Roberts: Emily, a former corporate lawyer, demystifies the world of law with clear explanations of legal principles, case analyses, and insights into the legal profession. Her blog is a valuable resource for law students, legal professionals, and anyone interested in law.