Am I eligible to file for a protection order?
You may qualify for a protection order if you were a victim of domestic violence/dating violence committed by:
- a family or household member;
- someone with whom you are or were in a dating relationship.1 (See below for the legal definition of a “dating relationship.”)
“Family or household member” is defined as:
- someone with whom you have a child in common, even if you never lived together;2 or
- any of the following people but only if you live with them currently or in the past:
- your spouse or ex-spouse;3
- a person “living as a spouse” (common law spouse)3 but only if you lived together at some point in the five years prior to the domestic violence incident described in your petition;4
- your parent, foster parent, or step-parent;
- your child or step-child;
- anyone else related to you by blood or marriage; or
- the parent, child, or anyone related by blood or marriage to the “person living as a spouse” of the abuser (for example, the mother of the abuser’s common-law wife may be able to file against the abuser).2
A “dating relationship” is defined as a romantic or intimate relationship that:
- is between adults;
- is beyond a typical social relationship or casual acquaintance; and
- took place within twelve months of the domestic violence incident.5
If someone other than a family or household member or dating partner is hurting you, you may be eligible for a stalking or sexually oriented offense protection order.
1 Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(A)
2 Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(A)(3)(b)
3 Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(A)(3)(a)
4 Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(A)(4)
5 Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(A)(8), (A)(9)
Can I get a protection order if I'm a minor?
A minor can qualify for a domestic violence protection order against a family our household member who abused them. However, the person who files for the order would be the minor’s parent or adult household member or another adult who is not related to the minor, known as a “next friend.”1
However, a minor cannot get a dating violence protection order against a current or past dating partner since the law specifically permits “an adult who…is in a dating relationship with the respondent who also is an adult” to file.2 A minor can get a stalking or sexually oriented offense protection order against an adult or minor dating partner if the respondent committed a sexually oriented offense or stalking.
1 Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(C)
2 Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(A)(9)
Can I file for a protection order against a minor?
You can file against someone who is under age 18. However, the petition would be filed in juvenile court (the juvenile division of the court of common pleas) as opposed to the domestic relations division of the court of common pleas.1 To read more information about filing a juvenile civil protection order, go to the Juvenile Civil Protection Order FAQ from the Supreme Court of Ohio’s website.
1 Ohio Rev. Code § 3113.31(A)(2)
Can I get a protection order against my same-sex partner?
In Ohio, you may apply for a protection order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Am I eligible to file for a protection order? You must also be the victim of an act of domestic violence, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Ohio?
You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.
How much do protection orders cost? Do I need a lawyer?
There is no filing fee to get a protection order.
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.