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What happens when I succeed in obtaining a protection order against my spouse whom I live with, but I do not want to get divorced?
01 August 2019  | Puleng Valentine Tladi

In terms of Section 1 of the Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998, domestic violence means physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, intimidation, harassment, stalking, damage to property, entry into the complainant’s residence without consent where the parties do not share the same residence, or any other controlling or abusive behaviour towards a complainant, where such conduct harms, or may cause imminent harm to the safety, health or wellbeing of the complainant.  

In this instance, the Act defines economic abuse as “the unreasonable deprivation of economic or financial resources” to which a complainant is entitled under Law or complainant requires out of necessity, this includes household necessities which the complainant is entitled under law (marriage) or which the complainant requires out of necessity, including household necessities for the complainant, and mortgage bond repayments or payment of rent in respect of the shared residence.  

This Act defines emotional, verbal and psychological abuse as a pattern of degrading or humiliating conduct towards complainant, including repeated insults, ridiculing or name calling, repeated threats to cause emotional pain, or the repeated exhibition of obsessive possessiveness or jealousy, which is such as to constitute a serious invasion of the complainant’s privacy, liberty, integrity or security.  

Basically a protection order prevents your spouse from committing any act of domestic violence, enlisting the help of another person to commit any such act, entering a residence shared by the complainant and the respondent, provided that the Court may impose this prohibition only if it appears to be in the best interest of the complainant, entering a specified part of such a shared residence, preventing the complainant who ordinarily lives or lived in a shared residence as contemplated in sub paragraph (c) from entering or remaining in the shared residence, committing any other act as specified in the protection order.  

Therefore your spouse is not allowed to contravene any of the conditions listed in the protection order until death do you part or until the court order is set aside.  Failure to comply with the protection order will result in a criminal case against your spouse and if found guilty by the Court of Law, he/she will have a criminal record.  

Reference List:

Domestic Violence Act 116 of 1998

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Tags: Divorce