A restraining order, or a protective order (sometimes abbreviated to PFA) is an order used by a court to protect a person, business, object, state, establishment or entity, as well as the general public, which is usually used in situations where there has allegedly been domestic violence, child abuse, assault, harassment, stalking, or even sexual assault.
Every state in the US has some kind of restraining order law, and Ohio has its own specific set of laws and policies surrounding their orders.
If you are thinking of filing a restraining order against someone in the state of Ohio, read on to discover all you need to know about the type of protection orders, grounds for an order, and how to file one.
What Kinds Of Protective/Restraining Orders Exist In Ohio?
There are two types of protection orders in the state of Ohio. These are:
- A temporary ex parte protection order, which can be granted on the very day that you file your petition, and is there to give you immediate protection from the offending party/abuser. A judge will grant you an ex parte order if they believe that there is ‘good cause’ to do so. Good cause, legally, consists of threat of immediate danger of domestic or dating violence, and includes (but is not always limited to):
- Situations where the respondent has threatened the petition filer with bodily harm, or an offense related to sexual violence.
- A situation wherein the respondent has previously been convicted of/pleaded guilty to a domestic violence crime against you (this does include a juvenile adjudication for domestic violence crime).
An ex parte order will last until the hearing of your civil protection order, which generally takes place within seven to ten days, though can take a little longer if the courts are suffering strain.
- A civil protection order (often abbreviated to CPO), is issued after the order hearing has happened. During the hearing, the alleged abuser has the opportunity to appear in court and state their counter case (even if they choose not to appear). A civil protection order can last up to five years after the hearing, though this is subject to a little legal nuance. If the respondent to the order is under the age of 18 when it has been issued against him/her, then the order can only last until they turn 19 (unless it has been renewed or extended by the courts).
However, if the protection order includes a provision for temporary custody or visitation, or an order of support, those terms might end earlier than the fiver years, for example, if either parent files for divorce, legal separation, or allocation of parental rights and responsibilities. A judge in the court may also make an order for custody/visitation, or financial support.
What Protections Are Offered By An Ex Parte Or Final Protection Order?
Both an ex parte and a civil protection order can protect you by:
- Ordering the abuser for abusing, harassing, or annoying you.
- Ordering the abuser to have no contact with you or your children.
- Preventing the abuser from entering your home, school, business, or workplace (and those of your children).
- Evicting the abuser from your residence, and give you possession of the residence, if it is owned by the abuser.
- Giving you custody of your children.
- Requiring the abuser to pay monthly financial support.
- Requiring the abuser to pay rent/mortgage, and/or utility payments.
- Requiring the abuser to receive counselling.
- Ordering the abuser not to remove, damage, hide, harm, or get rid of ant pets owned by you (and the judge can also remove any pets from the possession of the abuser).
- Granting you use of motor vehicles or other possessions.
- Granting nay other relief that the court considers to be both reasonable and fair.
The Steps For Getting A Restraining Order In Ohio
There are a few procedural steps that you will have to follow in order to get a restraining order in the state of Ohio. Here’s our quick, easy guide to this process:
Step One: acquire and fill out any forms necessary. You will be able to access any forms you need from the civil clerk at the courthouse nearest to where you live, though you can find them before you go to the courthouse, and fill them out with your lawyer, family, friend or advocate.
On the petition, you will be the ‘petitioner’, and the person that you are filing the order against will be the ‘respondent’. In the space provided, explain your reasons for wanting the order, and write down the most recent offenses that have happened against you (including any known dates and times, if possible). Just make sure that you don’t sign any forms until you are in front of a notary or clerk.
If you require immediate protection from the respondent, let the clerk known that you want an ex parte temporary order, which the judge can grant to you and your children without giving the respondent any prior notice.
During this stage, you will have to provide the court with your name, address and contact information so that they can ttrch you. Be sure that you use a safe mailing address and phone number, and if necessary, give the details of a collectable post office box, rather than a street address.
If you don’t have a safe address, ask the clerk how you can keep your address confidential.
Step Two: The ex parte hearing will occur after you have completed your application and retuned it to the clerk. To get the ball rolling, the clerk will forward it to a judge, whereupon the judge will consider your application.
The judge may want to question you about your allegations in an ex parte hearing. The legal term ‘ex parte’ means ‘ on one side’, i.e., the judge will hear only from you, rather than from the abuser too. The abuser does not need to know about the hearing, until after it has already taken place.
After you have give your testimony about why you fear the abuser and feel that you need a protection order, the judge at the hearing will decide whether to grant you a temporary protection order until your full hearing.
Regardless of whether you are granted temporary protection, the judge will set a court date for your full court hearing, which usually occurs seven to ten days after you have initially filed the petition.
Step Three: after you have received an ex parte order of protection, and/or set a court date, the respondent will be served with your petition, a copy of the order, and a notice of the hearing of the final order.
If the respondent lives in the state of Ohio – the clerk will deliver your petition, the affidavit, a summons to appear and any other relevant documents to the local sheriff, where the abuser lives.
The sheriff will then try to serve the papers to the respondent, by giving them the documents. If you request it, the clerk can pass the documents to a process server, or any person over the age of 18 who is not a party to the case for service, instead of the sheriff.
This person will then locate the abuser and give them the documents. Once the required party has served the papers, they must fill out a form to notify the clerk.
If the abuser does not live in Ohio, the clerk of the court will give you a copy of all of the required documents, so that you can arrange service to serve them with papers. You can then pass these documents to the relevant sheriff, process server, or any person over 18 who is permitted to serve process. Once the respondent has been served, the server must fill out a form notifying the clerk.
Regardless of where the respondent lives, if they have not been served with papers, the judge has the choice to either continue the case (which allows for more time to serve the abuser), or dismiss the case for a lack of service.
You can also try to serve the respondent by filing a request for ‘service by publication by posting and mail’.
Step Four: the full court hearing will then occur, and ask for your temporary protective order turned into a CPO, which will last for five years. If you don’t go to your hearing, your temporary order will expire, and if the respondent doesn’t show up, the judge will decide whether to reschedule, or still granny you your CPO. You can hire a lawyer for your hearing, which we recommend if the abuser has a lawyer. If the respondent shows up to the hearing with a lawyer, you can ask the judge for a continuance (which is essentially a later court date) so that you can find a lawyer.
To file a restraining order or protective order against someone, you will have to follow due procedure through the courts. This involves filing a petition, serving the respondent with papers, and a hearing.