(CPO) Protection Order
What is a CIVIL PROTECTION ORDER (CPO) ?
Persons can apply for a CPO if they or certain household members believe they are the victims of domestic violence, menacing by stalking, or sexual offenses.
CPOs are issued through the Domestic Relations Court or by the Juvenile Court (if the person you are filing against is under 18 years old). CPOs can order someone to stay away from you, be removed from the home, and other orders related to safety.
Definitions You Need to Know:
Petitioner: the person who has filed a request for an order (CPO) keeping someone away.
Respondent: the person the petitioner claims has committed domestic violence, menacing by stalking, or a sexual offense.
Ex Parte or Emergency Hearing: the short hearing held on the day or the day after the petition is filed, and the Judge or Magistrate decides if an immediate order will be issued.
Full Hearing: the trial when the petitioner has to prove the basis of the petition to have a CPO against the respondent. The respondent has a right to be part of this hearing. This is the FINAL hearing, so you may need an attorney or plan how you prove what happened.
Motion: a request to the court for some kind of order. You need to write what kind of order you want, why you think you should get that order, file it with the Clerk of Courts, and mail a copy to the other party.
Evidence: the information that is presented to the court at the hearing. It can be a person’s testimony (for example, “I saw John hit Sally”) or documents that relate to the case (for example, a letter received).
Steps in the CPO Process
1. Obtain the necessary documents, fill them out, and have them notarized. A court employee, someone from Open Arms, or other notary publics may notarize the documents.
Forms for applying for a CPO are available at:
- Hancock County Courthouse, Findlay, Ohio: Domestic Relations Court (1st floor); Clerk of Courts (3rd floor); Law Library (4th floor)
- Common Pleas Court website at click here
- Legal Aid of Western Ohio at 1800 N. Blanchard St., Suite 109, Findlay
- Open Arms Domestic Violence & Rape Crisis Services (419-420-9261 or 419-422-4766).
2. Take the completed documents to the Hancock County Clerk of Courts (3rd floor of Courthouse); the Clerk will give you a copy to take to the Domestic Relations Court.
3. The court staff will tell you whether you will have a hearing that day and give you instructions about how the case will be handled.
4. If you are granted an emergency order, you will receive the CPO and a date for the full hearing, which will take place within the next two weeks. You will get a copy of your CPO. If an emergency order is not granted, you will receive instructions about your case.
5. The respondent receives the papers, including the notice of hearing, by a Sheriff’s deputy or certified mail. The respondent is entitled to come to all hearings after the emergency hearing so that his/her information can also be presented to the court.
Unfortunately, the law does not permit courthouse employees to provide you what is deemed LEGAL ADVICE; they cannot tell you what you should file or what to say on your papers or to the Judge or Magistrate. Nor can they let you speak with the Judge or Magistrate outside of court or give their opinions about what the Judge or Magistrate will do. An advocate from Open Arms can assist the petitioner with the process; call 419-420-9261 (business) or 419-422-4766 (hotline) for an advocate.
What we CAN/DO provide are:
Forms available at:
- Hancock County Courthouse (Domestic Relations Court, Clerk of Courts, and Law Library);
- Court website: click here
- Legal Aid of Western Ohio;
- Open Arms Domestic Violence & Rape Crisis Services;
- Reference Materials at above sites
- Explain the Process
Rights to Legal & Other Assistance
If you are the petitioner: You have a right to have a victim advocate with you at all stages of the case. To speak with a victim advocate, you can call the Open Arms Domestic Violence Services at 419-420-9261 (business hours) or 419-422-4766 (hotline).You also have a right to have an attorney with you at all times. The court cannot appoint an attorney for you, so you must hire an attorney. You may want to contact Legal Aid at 1-888-534-1432 to find out if you are eligible for assistance.
If you are the respondent: You also have a right to consult with an attorney and have an attorney assist you in presenting your case to the court. IF YOU VIOLATE ANY TERMS OF A CPO, YOU MAY BE CHARGED WITH A CRIME
What If the Petitioner Decides to Dismiss the Case ?
The petitioner needs to write out the request to dismiss, or use one of the court’s forms, and file it with the Clerk of Courts. The Judge or Magistrate might want to speak directly to the petitioner in the courtroom before dismissing the case.