Montgomery County Domestic Relations Court has a dedicated staff person, the Public Coordinator for Domestic Violence, to assist unrepresented parties who are filing for a Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order. If you plan to file without a lawyer, you can go to the Domestic Relations Court in person, where the Public Coordinator will provide the forms and walk you through the filing process. The Public Coordinator can not provide legal advice or tell you what to write on your forms. We do not offer the Montgomery County Domestic and Dating Violence Civil Protection Order Forms on this website.
You may also be able to get assistance from a local domestic violence advocate or legal aid. Go to "Legal Help and Lawyers" and "Local Government and Community Resources" to see organizations in Montgomery County that may be able to help.
What is a protection order?
A protection order is an official document from the Court. When a court issues a protection order, they are ordering the "Respondent" (the person you allege to have committed the act of domestic violence) to stop certain actions which help keep you safe. The protection order can tell the Respondent to stop actions like:
- Hurting you
- Threatening you
- Contacting you
- Coming to your home or workplace
There are different types of protection orders in Ohio, including civil, criminal and temporary protection orders. Learn more about the different kinds of protection orders in Ohio at Ohio Legal Help.
- A Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order protects you from threats or violence from a family or household member.
- A Dating Violence Civil Protection Order protects you from threats or violence from someone you are or were recently dating. The Court defines dating as a mutual, romantic or intimate relationship with an adult who is not part of your household. The relationship must have happened within the past year.
Remember that filing for a civil protection order does not guarantee your safety.
If you have a criminal protection order in place and are interested in a civil protection order, you are encouraged to speak with a lawyer to understand how filing could affect your safety and how it could end your criminal protection order.
How to get a Domestic Violence or Dating Violence Civil Protection Order in Montgomery County
To get a Domestic Violence or Dating Violence Civil Protection order:
- Consider talking to an expert. Before you file, you may want to talk to an advocate from a local domestic violence organization or an experienced lawyer. You can find local domestic violence organizations under "Local Government and Community Resources" and organizations that can connect you with an attorney under "Legal Help and Lawyers." Advocates and lawyers can help you understand any additional risks you might have, connect you with services and help you complete the forms. Advocates may also be able to go to court with you.
- Go to the Montgomery County Domestic Relations Court and see the Public Coordinator for Domestic Violence. The Public Coordinator will provide you with the forms and walk you through the process of filing the forms for the civil protection order. The Public Coordinator cannot provide any legal advice or help you decide what information to write on your forms.
- Attend the ex parte hearing. On the day that you file, the Court will hold an emergency hearing, called an "ex parte" hearing. The Respondent does not attend the ex parte hearing. At this hearing, you (and your lawyer, if you have one) meet with the Judge. The Judge reviews your forms and may ask you some questions. Then, the Judge decides whether or not to issue an emergency "ex parte" protection order that starts immediately.
- Complete service. “Service” is when the Court officially tells the Respondent about your filing. When you fill out your civil protection order forms, you will complete the “Request for Service” on the last page of the petition. This is where you will tell the Court how you’d like service to be completed, either through in-person service by the Sheriff, certified mail or both. After you file, you will need to follow up with the Clerk’s office to make sure that service was completed. Your case cannot be heard at the full hearing until service has been completed.
- Attend the full hearing. Whether or not you are given the emergency, "ex parte" protection order, the Court will hold a full hearing, usually within 7 or 10 business days, that the Respondent may attend. At the full hearing, you testify and present evidence including any witnesses to show the judge why you need a protection order. You must show that there has been a recent threatening or violent act and that there is a danger of future violence. A lawyer can help you prepare evidence. If you want protection for your children or other family or household members, you must show why they are in danger, too. The Respondent also has a chance to present evidence.
- Be careful with consent agreements. A “consent agreement” is where the parties negotiate and agree to the terms of the protection order. Unlike with a regular protection order, getting a consent agreement means that the Court does not make a finding that the violence occurred, only that the parties agreed to the order. Some Courts may consider a “mutual stay away order” which is different than a consent agreement. If the other party wants to negotiate a consent agreement or “mutual stay away,” you may want to consider speaking with a lawyer first to see if it could put you at legal risk.
- Get a court order. If the Court decides to grant the civil protection order, it will be issued at the end of the hearing. Keep your protection order with you in case you need to call the police to enforce it. Give copies to people who may need it (like your child’s school or local law enforcement). You can also share it with your employer if you feel comfortable disclosing that information.
How to enforce a protection order
If the Respondent breaks the rules of a civil protection order, it is a “violation of the protection order” and they can be arrested or face other consequences.
If there is a violation of a civil or criminal protection order:
- Call the police. The police can enforce protection orders by arresting the violator.
- The police or prosecutor can file criminal charges. If convicted, the Respondent can face fines, probation, or jail time.
- For civil protection orders, the Court that issued the order could also find the Respondent in Contempt of Court. When someone violates a civil protection order, you can ask the Court that issued the order to find them in contempt. If found in contempt, the Respondent can face fines or jail time. Filing for contempt is complicated, consider talking to a lawyer or advocate before filing.