How much does it cost to get, modify, dismiss, or serve an order? Do I need a lawyer?
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.1
However, the court can make the respondent (abuser) pay costs in connection with any of the above-mentioned actions.2
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 Ohio Places that 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.
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.
1 Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(J)(1)
2 Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(J)(2)