In Ohio, if you fear for your safety from someone, you can ask the court for a civil protection order. Also known as a restraining order, a civil protection order is issued by a judge. While there are different types of protection orders, court staff and Ohio Legal Help personel are available to help you determine which one you need to petition for, so that you don't have to go through the process alone.
Temporary and Long-Term Restraining Orders
There are two types of protection orders in Ohio. If you need immediate protection from an abuser, you can ask for a temporary, or ex parte, protection order. Granted by a judge if she feels there is good reason to do so. an ex parte protection order can be granted the same day you apply for it. These are most commonly issued when the defendant has threatened you with physical harm or a sexual offense, or when the defendant has been proven to be abusive in the past. An ex parte protection order stays in effect until a hearing takes place, usually within 10 days.
If your situation doesn't qualify for an ex parte protection order, you can still petition for a civil protection order. These can be issued by the court after a hearing is held, which gives the defendant a chance to appear before the judge to state his position. However, it's not required for the defendant to appear if he chooses not to. A civil protection order can be in effect for up to five years. If the defendant is under 18 years old, its maximum time-period is when he turns 19, unless extended.
Petitioning for a Restraining Order
To get a restraining order in Ohio, begin by contacting Ohio Legal Help for their domestic violence forms, from the Ohio Supreme Court website, or by contacting the county Clerk of Courts office (see Resources). Court employees cannot offer any sort of legal advice about your situation. They can only answer questions pertaining to the forms and the filing procedures.
You can file a petition in the county where the defendant lives, where he has a place of business, or where the defendant committed prior acts of domestic violence. You can also file the petition in the county court where you live permanently or temporarily. Keep in mind that if you file in the county where you live, this could alert the defendant that you live in that county.
The forms you may need to fill out vary in different circumstances. You would use a domestic violence ex parte civil protection order form, if you need immediate protection from a spouse or partner, for example. If you don't qualify for immediate protection, can use a petition for domestic violence civil protection order form. If you are being stalked or have been sexually assaulted, you may need a civil stalking or sexually oriented offense protection order form. If you are requesting temporary custody of any children involved relating to domestic violence, you can also fill out an information for parenting proceeding affidavit form
There will be additional forms provided to you by the Clerk of Courts office if you need financial support.
Getting the Forms Notarized
Have the form, and your signature, notarized. DO NOT SIGN THE FORM until you are in the presence of the notary public. Some Clerk of Court offices have notary publics available or can help you locate one. Present your completed, notarized forms to the Clerk of Courts office for filing. The office will process your petition and inform you of the date and time of your hearing. You are required to attend any and all hearings scheduled by the court with regard to this matter.