FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON CIVIL PROTECTION ORDERS (CPO’s)
What is a CPO?
CPO is short for Civil Protection Order. A CPO is a court order directing an individual not to have contact with and to stay away from another person.
What is a SSOOPO?
SSOOPO is short for Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order. The procedures followed for SSOOPOs are the same as for CPOs.
Who is eligible to request a CPO?
Any person 18 years of age who lives in Clermont County may seek a CPO on behalf of themselves and any other family or household member. Respondent must also be at least 18 years old.
How does someone get a CPO?
The CPO process starts with an individual (called the Petitioner) filing a written document called a petition with the Clerk of Court. The Petitioner asks that the Court order another person (called the Respondent) to stay away. The completed petition form must be signed by the Petitioner in the presence of a notary or a deputy Clerk of Court.
The case is set for a prompt court proceeding called an ex parte hearing. If the Petitioner can prove that an order is legally proper, the Court will issue an ex parte CPO directing the Respondent to stay away. This can occur before the Respondent has notice of the court case. A blank copy of the CPO Petition is available HERE. A copy of the Ohio Supreme Court Instructions for filing a CPO petition is available HERE. There are no court costs for the Petitioner. In certain cases, the Respondent may be required to pay court costs.
How does the Clerk locate the Respondent in a CPO case?
It is the responsibility of the Petitioner seeking the CPO to provide the Clerk’s office with a current address for the Respondent so the proper court papers can be delivered.
Do I have to give my address to get a CPO?
No. You can ask that your current address be kept confidential. The Court will have a record of where you live for mailing notices, but the Respondent and the public do not have access to that address.
Where do I go to start the CPO process?
The necessary court documents to start the case are filed at the Clerk of Court’s office, Clermont County Common Pleas Courthouse, First Floor, 270 East Main Street, Batavia, Ohio, 45103. A blank copy of the CPO Petition is available HERE. A copy of the Ohio Supreme Court Instructions for filing a CPO petition is HERE.
Where will the CPO hearing take place?
Most CPO hearings are held in Courtroom 205, Clermont County Common Pleas Courthouse, Second Floor, 270 East Main Street, Batavia, Ohio, 45103. The Courtroom is at the end of the long hallway off the left of the second floor public lobby. If the hearing is in a different courtroom, you will be directed to the proper location.
Who hears the CPO cases?
CPO matters are heard and decided by the judges and magistrates of the Clermont County Common Pleas Court. Whether a judge or magistrate presides makes no difference in the CPO process.
How is a final order handled?
At the time an ex parte CPO is issued, the Court sets the case for a full hearing with both sides present. The full hearing is usually 10 to 14 days after the ex parte hearing. At the time of the full hearing, the Court makes a decision based on all the evidence on whether or not to issue a final order.
How long does a final CPO last?
A CPO issued after a full hearing can be in force for up to five years.
When is a CPO effective?
A CPO is effective when it is served (physically delivered in a legally proper method) on the Respondent. There are occasions when a CPO is issued after a full hearing that the Respondent is served while still in the Courthouse.
Can I bring an attorney to a CPO hearing?
Yes. Both the Petitioner and the Respondent may bring attorneys to represent them.
I can’t afford an attorney. Will the Court appoint or assign one to help pursue or defend a CPO?
No. CPO cases are civil, not criminal. There is no right to a court-appointed attorney in a civil proceeding. You should also note that the Prosecuting Attorney and the Public Defender do not participate in CPO hearings.
Should I bring witnesses to a CPO hearing?
Yes. The Court will listen to all the evidence from both sides including the testimony of witnesses before making a decision in a CPO case. Witnesses in your favor must appear in person. You should also bring any documents, pictures, print-outs, etc. you wish to use as exhibits.
How should I present my case?
The Court cannot give you legal advice or present your case for you. A PDF outline on CPO hearing procedure is HERE.
I live in Clermont County, but the stalking occurred at my work in Hamilton County. Where do I file my CPO petition?
You must file in Clermont County. All CPOs are filed in the Petitioner’s county of residence regardless of where the alleged stalking took place.
I live in another county, but the stalking occurred at my work in Clermont County. Where do I file my CPO petition?
You must file in the county where you live. All CPOs are filed in the Petitioner’s county of residence regardless of where the alleged stalking took place.
Will the Respondent be arrested if the Petitioner wins at the full hearing?
No. A CPO hearing is a civil matter, not criminal. No one is arrested at the hearing, no matter what the evidence. However, a violation of the CPO by the Respondent after it is issued can result in arrest and criminal prosecution.
Does the Petitioner get police protection if they win a CPO?
No. The CPO is a court order, nothing more. It does not provide physical police or sheriff’s protection for the Petitioner.
My protection order has been violated. What should I do?
You should contact your local police or sheriff, as violation of a CPO may result criminal charges.
How is a CPO dismissed or modified?
Any motion to dismiss or modify a CPO should be filed in writing with the Clerk of Courts office, which will set the matter for a hearing before the assigned judge or magistrate.
The Respondent is a former spouse or live-in partner of the Petitioner. Where is the CPO petition filed?
The Petitioner can choose to file a CPO petition in either Common Pleas Court or in Domestic Relations Court against a former spouse or live-in.
Can a CPO change the custody, parenting, or visitation arrangements for minor children?
No. Only the Domestic Relations Court or the Juvenile Court can change earlier custody, parenting, or visitation orders affecting minor children.
What if I have other questions about CPOs?
You should consult with an attorney if you have technical legal questions about CPO hearings and your specific case. The Court and court staff cannot give you legal advice. Clermont County has a Victim Assistance office (513-732-7979) that may be able to give you guidance, but they cannot represent you in court or give legal advice.