Domestic Violence and Dating Violence CPO Form Assistant
This interview will help you fill out the forms to file for a Domestic Violence or Dating Violence Civil Protection Order in Ohio.
Learn more about getting a Domestic Violence or Dating Violence Civil Protection Order in Ohio.
You will need to:
- Register for a My OLH account. Registering will allow you to save and complete this form on your own schedule.
- Enter your information completely and correctly.
- Pace yourself and take breaks. All the information you fill out will be saved. You can click "Save & Exit" and return to complete your form.
- Download or email your completed form.
- Follow the instructions on the completed form to file with the court.
If possible, use a computer so that you can easily download your completed form or email it to yourself.
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Requesting a civil protection order has benefits and risks. Your risk may increase if:
- Your abuser is dangerous. Abusers are often more dangerous during the legal case. You may have increased risk if your abuser:
- Seriously injured you,
- Threatened to hurt or kill you
- Strangled or "choked" you
- Stalked you
- Hurt or killed pets
- Suffers from a mental health issue
- Abuses alcohol or drugs
- Has guns or other weapons
- You have children. If the court decides to consider or grant parenting time, visitation or custody, getting a protection order is complicated. You may face risks like losing custody. Some advocates are mandatory reporters. Mandatory reporters have to call children’s services if they learn a child is in danger. Before telling your story, always ask if the advocate is a mandatory reporter.
- You have an active legal case. If you have an active, undecided legal case (like a custody case about your children) getting a protection order is complicated and risky. You should talk to a lawyer.
- There is a current criminal case involving the same action or actions that led you to seek the civil protection order. Filing for a civil protection order while there is a pending criminal case could have serious consequences. For example, the civil protection order could cancel the criminal protection order, the defendant can use the civil case to get evidence to use against you in the criminal case, or vice versa, or you could end up with no protection order at all. You should talk to a lawyer.
- You are an immigrant. If you are an immigrant, requesting a protection order is complicated—regardless of your immigration status. You should talk to a lawyer.
A protection order may not be the safest option for you. Talking to a lawyer or advocate can help you fully understand the risks you are facing.
- Talk to an expert. Before you file, talk to an advocate from a local domestic violence organization or an experienced lawyer. Advocates and lawyers can help you understand any additional risks you might have, connect you with services and help you complete the forms.
- File the forms. Contact the local Domestic Relations Court where you live, where your abuser lives or where the abuse happened. Your court may have other local forms that you have to file with your petition, so ask the Clerk if there are more required forms before you file. You must go to the Clerk's office in-person to file.
- Attend the ex parte hearing. On the day that you file, the Court will hold an emergency hearing, called an "ex parte" hearing. The abuser does not attend the ex parte hearing. At this hearing, the judge reviews your forms and may ask you some questions. Then, the judge decides if you need an emergency "ex parte" protection order that starts immediately.
- Complete service. “Service” is when the Court officially tells the abuser about your filing. After you file, you will need to follow up with the Clerk’s office to make sure that service was completed. Your case cannot be heard at the full hearing until service has been completed.
- Attend the full hearing. Whether or not you are given the emergency, "ex parte" protection order, the Court will hold a full hearing, usually within 7 or 10 business days, that the abuser may attend. At the full hearing, you testify and present evidence including any witnesses to show the judge why you need a protection order. You must show that there has been a recent threatening or violent act and that there is a danger of future violence. A lawyer can help you prepare evidence. If you want protection for your children or other family or household members, you must show why they are in danger, too. The abuser also has a chance to present evidence.
- Be careful with consent agreements. A “consent agreement” is where the parties negotiate and agree to the terms of the protection order. Unlike with a regular protection order, getting a consent agreement means that the court does not make a finding that the violence occurred, only that the parties agreed to the order. Some courts may consider a “mutual stay away order” which is different than a consent agreement. If the other party wants to negotiate a consent agreement or “mutual stay away,” you should consult with a lawyer first to see if it could put you at legal risk.
- Get a court order. The court issues the order at the end of the hearing. Keep your protection order with you in case you need to call the police to enforce it. Give copies to people who may need it (like your child’s school or local law enforcement). You can also share it with your employer if you feel comfortable disclosing that information.