Know the Laws: Ohio
UPDATED September 15, 2016
A protection order is a civil order that provides protection from harm or the threat of harm by a family or household member.
This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting a protection order. Domestic violence is when a family or household member does any of the following:
There are two kinds of protection orders in Ohio. A temporary ex parte protection order can be granted the same day you file your petition in order to give you immediate protection from the abuser. The judge can grant the ex parte order if there is "good cause" to do so. Immediate danger of domestic violence can count as good cause to grant a temporary ex parte order, which includes, but is not limited to:
An ex parte order will last until the hearing for your civil protection order, which generally takes places within 7 to 10 days.**
A civil protection order (CPO) can be issued after a hearing is held where the abuser has the opportunity to appear in court (even if s/he chooses not to appear). A CPO can last up to 5 years but if the respondent (abuser) is under age 18 when the order is issued against him/her, the order can only last until s/he turns 19 (unless it is renewed/extended).*** However, if the CPO includes a provision for temporary custody/visitation and/or an order of support, those terms may end earlier than the 5 years if either parent files for divorce, legal separation, or allocation of parental rights and responsibilities and a judge in that court case makes an order for custody/visitation or support.****
* Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(D)(1)
** Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(D)(2)
*** Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(E)(3)(a),(c)
An ex parte or final protection order may:
Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.
* Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(E)(1)
** Ohio Rev. Code §§ 3113.31(E)(1)(k), 3113.451
You can file a petition in any of the following counties:
You cannot be charged any fee or cost in connection with filing for a protection order, which includes filing your petition, getting an order issued, registering the order, modifying the order, enforcing the order or even dismissing/withdrawing the order. You also cannot be charged anything to have the order served by law enforcement, to request a witness subpoena from the judge for a hearing, or to get a certified copy of your order.*
However, the court can make the respondent (abuser) pay costs in connection with any of the above-mentioned actions.**
Although you do not need a lawyer to file for a protection order, it may be to your advantage to seek legal counsel, especially if the abuser has a lawyer. Even if the abuser does not have a lawyer, you may want to contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected. If you cannot afford a lawyer but want one to help you with your case, you can find information on legal assistance and domestic violence agencies on the OH Where to Find Help page. Staff at domestic violence agencies in your area and/or court staff may be able to answer some of your questions or help you fill out the necessary court forms.
* Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(J)(1)
** Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(J)(2)