An unstable man stalked his ex-wife and her new boyfriend at a Mardis Gras parade. He shot both of them before being taken into custody.

Approximately six months earlier, Anthony Orr failed to appear at a court hearing and a judge granted a divorce. In court documents, Orr’s ex-wife accused him of physical, verbal, and emotional violence during the marriage. Police eventually arrested Orr on domestic assault charges. He was due back in court a few days after the shooting.

Orr’s ex-wife was transported to a local hospital following the shooting. Her boyfriend did not survive.

Protection from Alleged Abusers

At one time or another, physical, verbal, emotional, or other violence affects almost every marriage relationship in South Carolina. Sometimes the violence does not escalate, but most of the time, it does. Spouses who request marriage dissolution can receive short-term and long-term protection.

When a spouse files for divorce, the judge sometimes enters an ex parte protective order. In some cases, this order could require the alleged abuser to vacate a joint residence, even if that spouse’s name is on the lease or mortgage. These orders could include other provisions as well, such as surrendering firearms and staying away from a daycare, school, or another such place

A hearing usually takes place about two weeks after the divorce is filed. If there is credible evidence backing up the petitioner’s abuse allegations, the judge frequently extends the protective order. Many courts impose additional conditions, such as anger management counseling, alcohol treatment, or supervised visitation.

Final divorce orders often include permanent injunctions. These injunctions are usually not as strong as temporary injunctions, but they offer long-term protection.

Divorce protective orders are not just pieces of paper. Violating a protective order is a serious offense in South Carolina. Additionally, these orders give third parties, such as the aforementioned school or daycare, a heads-up about the problem.

How Domestic Violence Affects Divorce Issues

In most states, including South Carolina, domestic violence often affects parenting time. That’s especially true if the violence was physical and the children either witnessed it or were victims of it. In these situations, judges normally order things like a supervised visitation, parenting classes, and neutral place exchanges. 

If the parents exchange the children at a place like a police station parking lot or a social services center, people are less likely to act up. Additionally, such exchanges prevent the alleged abuser from learning the other spouse’s address.

South Carolina is one of the few states where the marital fault could affect the property settlement. In some cases, a judge could order an unequal distribution based on domestic violence. That’s especially true if the violence also had a financial effect.

Divorce orders often also include protective orders. For a confidential consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Greenville, contact the Briggs Law Firm. We routinely handle matters in Greenville County and nearby jurisdictions.

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