Civil Protection Orders


You cannot be charged any costs or fees for filing, issuing, registering, modifying, enforcing, dismissing, withdrawing, serving, or obtaining a protection order.

What is a Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order ("CPO")?

A CPO is issued by a domestic relations court to protect a victim of domestic violence. A CPO is intended to prevent further domestic violence. It orders someone who has been abusive to do or not do certain things in the future. You may want to consider getting a CPO even if you have a DVTPO from a criminal court because a CPO lasts longer and provides more benefits – such as child custody and support orders. Domestic violence includes the commission of sexually oriented offenses.

Violating a CPO is a crime. If the Respondent violates the CPO, he or she may be arrested, jailed, and fined for disobeying the CPO. A CPO can remain in effect for up to 5 years. If the Respondent violates the CPO, you can call the police, go back to the domestic relations court to file a contempt charge, and go to the prosecutor’s office to have the Respondent charged with the crime of violating the CPO.

Why get a Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order?

If you are a victim of domestic violence, a CPO may help you. Once domestic violence starts, the violence often happens more often and gets increasingly severe. A CPO may stop this cycle of violence because the Court orders the Respondent to stop hurting or threatening you and your family or household members. The Court can use a CPO to order the Respondent to stay away from you for up to five years. A CPO can give you time to "sort things out" and decide what you want to do next without having to be afraid all of the time. If your children have seen domestic violence, a CPO may give all of you a chance to get some help so that you and your children are safe.

Domestic violence is a crime. A CPO tells the Respondent you and the Court are serious about requiring the Respondent to stop his or her abusive behavior and not to hurt or threaten you again.

A CPO sets some "rules" that the Respondent must obey while the CPO is in effect. These rules may require the Respondent to pay child or spousal support; give up possession of a home or car; and/or obey the Court’s orders about visitation.

A CPO issued by a domestic relations court may last longer than a DVTPO issued by a criminal court and can provide more kinds of help. You should know that if you get a CPO based upon the same facts as the DVTPO, the DVTPO from the criminal court will automatically end, even if the criminal case continues.

Who can get a Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order?

You can apply for a CPO if you are related to the Respondent by blood or marriage AND have lived with Respondent at any time; OR you are living with or have lived with the Respondent during the past five years; OR you used to be married to the Respondent; OR you have a child with the Respondent, whether or not you ever married or lived together.

You can also get a CPO for any member of your household.

You may be able to get a CPO if you have been dating the Respondent; if you share family or financial responsibilities with the Respondent; AND you have an intimate relationship with the Respondent.

Remember that a CPO has limits. If you suspect that the Respondent will not obey the terms of a CPO, contact your Project Woman at (937) 328-5308 or 800-634-9893 or the Ohio Domestic Violence Network at 800-934-9840.

Do I need an attorney for me to obtain a Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order?

No, but you are often better off having legal representation in your CPO proceeding. No one other than an attorney can provide you with legal advice.

Having an attorney represent you is especially helpful when your case involves contested custody and visitation and/or when an attorney represents the Respondent.

If you cannot afford an attorney, contact your local legal aid office at 866-LAWOHIO (toll free), bar association, or Ohio State Legal Services (800-589-5888) for information on low cost or free legal representation. You can also get help through Legal Access Works at 888-886-8388.

For additional information visit: Supreme Court of Ohio



You can access the Petition (PDF)

You can access the Instructions on completing a Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order ("CPO")