The Difference Between a Restraining Order and a Civil Protection Order

September 2, 2014

Civil Protection Order Columbus

Both a restraining order and a civil protection order (CPO) can provide protection to victims of domestic abuse. In Ohio, however, these orders are very different legal tools.  As such, a victim of domestic violence may seek and obtain both a restraining order and a criminal or civil protection order. Obtaining one type of order does not prevent another court from issuing the other type of order.

A domestic violence lawyer in Columbus, Ohio can help you determine the correct order(s) to pursue given your specific circumstances.

Restraining Orders

Domestic courts can issue a restraining order in cases of divorce or legal separation when one of the spouses has been or may become abusive to the other one. The restraining order can make such orders as the court finds proper, including ordering the spouse to not harass, abuse, intimidate, or otherwise cause physical or emotional harm to the requesting spouse.

A restraining order remains in effect until the divorce or legal separation case is complete, at which point it terminates. It is important to note that the police cannot enforce restraining orders. Rather, it is the responsibility of the protected spouse and his/her attorney to notify the court that issued the order whenever the abusive spouse has violated the order by bringing a contempt action. 

Civil Protection Orders

In comparison to a restraining order, a civil protection order (“CPO”) provides more significant protection for victims of abuse. A CPO may be enforced by the police and the offender can be immediately arrested for violation of the order. The victim, the victim’s parent, or an adult household member of the victim can obtain a civil protection order against the alleged offender.

A petition for a CPO can be filed with the Domestic Relations Court. In order to obtain a CPO you must qualify as a family member under Ohio law. If you are considered a household or family member, then you may request a CPO if any of the following charges are filed on your behalf under State code:

  • Domestic Violence
  • Felonious Assault
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Assault
  • Menacing by Stalking
  • and Aggravated Trespass
The CPO may include the following orders:
  • Direct the abuser to stop the abuse;
  • Grant possession of the residence or household to you and/or other family members, to the exclusion of the abuser; evict the abuser; or order the abuser to vacate the premises, or (if the abuser has the duty to support you) order the abuser to provide suitable, alternative housing;
  • Award temporary custody and establish temporary custody orders with regard to minor children (if no other court has determined custody and visitation rights);
    Require the abuser to maintain support if the abuser customarily provides for or contributes to the support of the family or household, or if the abuser has a duty to support under the law;
  • Require counseling;
  • Require the abuser to refrain from entering the residence, school, business, or place of employment of the victim or other family members;
  • Grant any other relief that the court considers fair, including, but not limited to, ordering the abuser to permit the use of a motor vehicle to the victim, and ordering a fair apportionment of household and family personal property.

If you are dealing with family issues involving a restraining order or civil protection order, you would be well served to hire an experienced domestic violence attorney in Columbus, Ohio. At Edward F. Whipps & Associates we have over thirty years of experience in family law.  Our extensive experience successfully obtaining as well as defending against restraining orders and civil protection orders and our special knowledge of psychology will be certain to assist you in obtaining a suitable result. You can arrange a mutually convenient time for a consultation with Edward F. Whipps & Associates by calling our Columbus office at (614) 398-4182, our Dublin office at (614) 461-6007, or toll-free at (877) 367-6544. 



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