DIFFICULTY: Legal assistance is required
Initial Filing Fee: $0
Ohio has two basic types of restraining orders: standard restraining orders and criminal protection orders (also known as CPOs). A restraining order is issued by a domestic relations court and is used in cases of divorce or legal separation when one of the spouses has been abusive to the other one. This type of order remains in effect until the divorce or legal separation is completed, at which point it terminates. Such orders are not enforced by the police, however, and it is the responsibility of the protected spouse and their attorneys to notify the court that issued the order whenever the abusive spouse has violated the order. Under Ohio law, domestic violence includes any assault or threat of harm from a family or household member in any of the following areas: physical, emotional, financial, and sexual.
Law enforcement must respond to and enforce criminal protection orders, however, which pertain to a broader number of cases in which abuse or cruelty have taken place. A court can issue a CPO for unmarried intimate partners, relatives of the abuser, and relatives of the abuser’s partner. In general, a CPO is preferable to a restraining order as it can cover a wider number of circumstances and law enforcement is legally required to enforce it. For those who want the benefits of a restraining order too, however, such as the right to evict a partner, it is possible to get both orders at the same time. CPOs can also apply to strangers, rather than just those that are partners or closely connected to a person or their family.
Step 1: Decide What Type of Order You Need
Within the two basic types of orders you can file, there are a number of orders available, including: Domestic Violence Civil Protection Orders (CPOs), Juvenile CPOs, Domestic Violence Stalking CPOs, and Restraining Orders. Remember, if you require more than one order you can file for a restraining order and a criminal protection order at the same time. If you are seeking to protect minor children and obtain sole temporary custody, you should complete the additional Information for Parent Proceeding Affidavit Form. Finally, you will want to fill out a Domestic Violence CPO Ex Parte Form as well, though this will not be filed right away.
• Supreme Court of Ohio Restraining Order and Criminal Protection Order Forms
• Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order
• Juvenile Civil Protection Order
• Domestic Violence Stalking Civil Protection Order
• Information for Parent Proceeding Affidavit Form
• Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order Ex Parte
Step 2: Fill Out the Forms
Fill out the appropriate forms and make three copies of each. One is for you, one is for the defendant, and the final is for the county clerk at your local courthouse. If you are filing to protect yourself from an adult, this is done in the domestic court. If you are filing to protect yourself from a juvenile or person under the age of 18, this is done in the juvenile court. Clerks are not allowed to advise you when completing the forms. It is advised you seek professional legal counsel when completing your forms.
Step 3: Notarize the Forms
Sign your completed forms in the presence of a licensed notary agent. Some courthouses have their own notarizing agent, although not all. If your court does not have an assigned notary, the court clerk can advise you on where to locate one.
Step 4: Submit Forms
Once you have completed and notarized your forms you will submit them to the clerk of the courts at your local courthouse. They will then accept your forms and set up a hearing with a judge to finalize the process and render a judgment.
Step 5: Attend the Hearing
Make sure that you attend the hearing on the date it is set, as otherwise you may lose any temporary protection orders the court put into place and will have to begin the process over again. At the hearing, the judge will render a verdict and complete the Ex Parte Form. At this point the full restraining or criminal protection order will be filed and issued.
Step 6: Enforce and Renew Your Order
If for some reason the abusing party does not adhere to the items described in your restraining or criminal protection order it is up to you to contact the appropriate individuals. With restraining orders you need to contact your attorney or domestic violence consultant as law enforcement is not required to enforce these orders. For criminal protection orders you should call 911, as law enforcement is legally required to enforce CPOs without discrimination. When the time limit on your order comes up make sure that you process another request for a restraining or CPO order if you need one. Without renewing, the order will lapse and you will be without protection until the whole process is completed once again.