Step 1: Get and fill out the necessary forms.
You can find the forms from the civil clerk at the courthouse where you live, but you may want to find them before you go and fill them out at home or with an advocate from a domestic violence program. You will find links to forms online on our Ohio Download Court Forms page and you will find courthouse locations on our Ohio Courthouse Locations page.
On the petition you will be the “petitioner” and the abuser will be the “respondent.” In the box provided for explaining why you want the order, write about the most recent incidents of violence, using specific language (slapping, hitting, grabbing, threatening, etc.) that fits your situation. Include details and dates, if possible. Clerks and magistrates can show you which blanks to fill in, but they cannot help you decide what to write. Note: Do not sign the forms until you are in front of a notary or a clerk. The clerk can usually notarize the forms for you.
If you need immediate protection, let the clerk know you also want a temporary (ex parte) order. An ex parte order is a temporary emergency order that a judge can grant you if you or your child are in immediate danger without any prior notice to the abuser.
You will need to provide your name and contact information so that the court can reach you. Be sure to use a safe mailing address and phone number. If you are staying at a shelter, give a post office box, not the street address. If you do not have a safe address, do not fill it out - ask the clerk first how you can keep your address confidential.