Domestic Relations Court

Judge Barbara Schneider Carter
Judge Margot Halcomb

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CIVIL PROTECTION ORDER (CPO) PROCEDURES

Introduction

If you are a victim of relationship abuse, you may want to go to court to get a restraining order. However, there are two things you should know beforehand.

1. There are five different kinds of restraining orders. You may qualify for more than one kind:

Civil Protection Orders:
In Butler County, these orders are granted by the Domestic Relations Court to victims who have a special relationship with the abuser AND meet the legal definition of being in danger of domestic violence. These orders can last for several years and the abuser can be arrested and put in jail for violating the order. In addition to orders limiting or prohibiting contact between the victim and the abuser, the court can issue orders concerning related issues such as payment of the victim's bills, where any children of the victim will live, if there will be any visitation, and the payment of child support. The abuser can also be ordered to participate in counseling. It does not cost the victim anything to get a civil protection order.

Temporary Protection Orders:
These orders are granted by the municipal and county area courts at no cost to the victim. Anyone who meets the qualification for a civil protection order should be able to get a temporary protection order instead of or, in addition to, a civil protection order. Temporary protection orders can be granted if an abuser is arrested for domestic violence or the victim wants to press criminal charges against the abuser by filing a complaint. Temporary protection orders limit or prohibit contact between the abuser and victim. However, unlike civil protection orders, they do not deal with other issues, such as children and support. Temporary protection orders do not last as long as civil protection orders. They only last as long as the criminal proceedings. Also, if you get a temporary protection order AND a civil protection order because of the same incident of domestic violence, the temporary protection order will be dismissed. Abusers can be arrested, charged, and jailed for violating temporary protection orders.

Stalking Civil Protection Orders:
If you are a victim of the legal definition of "stalking", you can get a civil protection order at no cost. If you don't have a special relationship with the "stalker", or if the "stalker" is someone you hardly know, you may still be able to get one of these orders. These orders are issued by the General Division of the Court of Common Pleas.

Stalking Protection Orders:
These orders are granted by the municipal and county area courts at no cost. They are similar to temporary protection orders except that they are for victims of the legal definition of "staking". In addition, they differ from stalking civil protection orders in the same ways that temporary protection orders differ from civil protection orders.

Temporary Restraining Orders:
These orders are given by the Domestic Relations Court in almost every divorce case. The court orders the other person not to "strike, abuse, harass, stalk, threaten, or injure" the person asking for the order. Victims must be married to the abuser and want a divorce to be able to receive this order. The abuser will not be arrested for violating a temporary restraining order. Instead, the victim must come back to court and begin contempt of court proceedings. In addition, temporary restraining order lasts only until the divorce is final. Unless you have a low income, there is a cost to the victim for filing a divorce and getting a temporary restraining order.

2. Even if you are in an abusive relationship, you may not qualify for a civil protection order, temporary protection order, stalking civil protection order, or stalking protection order. The law has limitations on who is entitled to these orders and what kinds of abusive behavior are considered to be "domestic violence". You should not try to determine which of these orders you might qualify for. Talk to your attorney if you have one. However, you do not need an attorney in order to come to court.

Most importantly, if you are in an abusive relationship and want protection by the court, try to get it. If you do not qualify, you will be told where you can go to get help. Do not be afraid to come to court just because you think you might not get the protection you want.

PROCEDURES FOR OBTAINING A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CIVIL PROTECTION ORDER (CPO)

To obtain a CPO, you will need the documents listed below. These forms are available from the Butler County Domestic Relations Court, Domestic Violence Office. They are also available on this web site. Either click on the appropriate form below, or go to the Court Forms link at the top of this page.

  1. The Petition for a Domestic Violence CPO;
  2. If you will be requesting temporary custody of a child, a Parenting Proceeding Affidavit;
  3. If you will be requesting financial support, you may also be required to fill out a financial affidavit.

Submitting the Petition for a Domestic Violence CPO
Present your completed Petition for a CPO form, and if applicable, your completed Parenting Proceeding Affidavit and/or financial affidavit forms, to the Butler County Domestic Relations Court, Domestic Violence Office.

Victim Advocate
Ohio law permits you to have a victim advocate with you at all times in court during protection order proceedings. Contact your local domestic violence assistance group at these locations for advocate information.

Butler County Sheriff's Office
Dove House
Victim Assistance Program
Court/Victim Advocate Program
(513) 887-3430
(513) 887-7099

Attending the Ex Parte Court Hearing

You must appear in front of a hearing officer for the ex parte hearing, where the hearing officer will listen to your testimony. You should tell the hearing officer what the respondent did to make you fear that you (or another family member) may be in danger. Tell the hearing officer if the respondent injured you, attempted to injure you, or threatened you.

Tell the hearing officer what you would like the court to do to help keep you and other family members safe and to protect the best interests of any children. For example:

  1. Order the respondent to stay away from you;
  2. Order the respondent to be removed from your home;
  3. Order the respondent to get counseling;
  4. Award temporary custody of children to you;
  5. Order the respondent to have visitation only under conditions that will keep you and the children safe;
  6. Order the respondent to pay you child support and/or spousal support;
  7. Order the respondent to be prohibited from having any weapons;
  8. Award possession of a car for your use;
  9. Award possession of your personal property and the children's personal property.

If you have told the hearing officer reasons why you should get a CPO, and the hearing officer determines that you or your family or household members are in immediate danger of domestic violence, an ex parte CPO will be issued.

The hearing officer will set a second hearing (called a "full hearing") in 7 to 10 business days to give the respondent a chance to be heard. You must also appear at the full hearing. Some issues, such as support, may be postponed until this second hearing when both parties may be present.

Attending the Full Hearing

You, the "petitioner", must attend the full hearing. The respondent is not required to attend this hearing; but is given this opportunity to respond to what you said the respondent did or threatened to do in the petition that was filed. At the full hearing you must tell your story again, this time in more detail. Bring with you any witnesses, photos, or paper that will help you prove your case. Tell the hearing officer again what you want the court to do to help keep you and other family members safe. The respondent may also present evidence. The respondent may call you as a witness and ask you questions. After the hearing, if the hearing officer decides you are entitled to a CPO, a new CPO will be issued called a Full Hearing CPO. This CPO is usually more detailed than the Ex Parte CPO. By law, the court may not issue any orders against you unless the respondent has filed a separate action against you.

At the full hearing, you and the respondent can also decide to enter into a Consent Agreement, which is an agreed CPO.

Enforcement of Your CPO

Your CPO remains in effect for five years, unless the court sets a different expiration date. Violation of a CPO is a crime in Ohio. If the respondent violated the CPO, contact the police to make a report and notify the Domestic Violence Office. Violations of CPOs are also grounds for a contempt action against the respondent in the Butler County Domestic Relations Court. There is a contempt motion form available at the court's Domestic Violence Office. You must complete and submit the contempt motion to the Domestic Violence Office to begin a contempt action against the respondent. A Respondent may be sentenced to jail for violation of a CPO, through either the criminal or the civil contempt process.

Domestic Violence Office
Government Services Center
315 High St.
Hamilton, Ohio 45011-6041

Office Hours:
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Phone numbers: (513) 887-3347 (Hamilton); (513) 424-5351 ext. 3347 (Middletown)

 

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