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Civil Stalking Protection Order FAQ

What is a Civil Stalking Protection Order?
A Civil Stalking Protection Order is an order issued by the Richland County Court of Common Pleas that protects individuals from menacing by stalking. The Court is empowered to issue Civil Stalking Protection Orders by Ohio Revised Code §2903.214.

Who can get a Civil Stalking Protection Order?
Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §2903.214, an individual may receive a Civil Stalking Protection Order from the court of common pleas of the county in which he or she resides. Therefore, a resident of Richland County can get a Civil Stalking Protection Order from the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, provided all of the requirements for the issuance of a Civil Stalking Protection Order have been met.
If an individual resides in a county other than Richland County but the events giving rise to the need for the protection order occur in Richland County, the individual still must seek a Civil Protection Order from the county in which he or she resides. If the individual(s) against whom protection is sought is/are:
  1. A family or household member (i.e., mother, father, stepparent, sister, brother, etc.)
  2. The natural father or mother of the children of the individual seeking protection, or
  3. If parental rights are implicated

Then the matter must be filed in the Richland County Domestic court.

If the other person is under the age of 18, the matter must be filed in the Richland County Juvenile Court. You can reach the Juvenile Court at 419-774-5578.

Can I get a Civil Stalking Protection Order for my child?
Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §2903.214(C), a person may seek relief under this section for the person, or any parent or adult household member may seek relief under this section on behalf of any other family or household member, by filing a petition with the court. Accordingly, a parent may seek a protection order for his or her child; however, the order will be issued only if evidence of stalking indicates a pattern of conduct towards the child, or the person you are seeking protection from committed a sexually oriented offense against the child.

How much does a Civil Stalking Protection Order Cost?
Ohio Revised Code §2903.214(J) prohibits a court from charging the person seeking a protection order: a fee, cost, deposit or money in connection with: the filing, issuance, registration, or service of a Civil Stalking Protection Order or consent agreement or for obtaining a certified copy of a Civil Stalking Protection Order or consent agreement.

While no fees or court costs are assessed to the petitioner, these hearings can result in significant financial cost to the courts. Because of this, the court reserves the right to review and control the issuance of the subpoenas and the discovery process.

Do I need an Attorney to petition for a Civil Stalking Protection Order?
If you do not have an attorney, you may proceed without legal representation.

How do I get a Civil Stalking Protection Order?
First, you must complete the Petition for Civil Stalking which is available on the court’s website at richlandcourtsoh.us/forms.php or from the reception widow for Courtroom #3 on the second floor of the County Administration Building. THE PETITION MUST BE SIGNED IN THE PRESENCE OF A NOTARY. After a review of the petition, the court will hold an ex parte hearing if requested. Ex parte means only one party is present. Therefore, the ex parte hearing is between you, your attorney (if you have one) and a magistrate. The individual whom you are seeking protection from will not be present at this hearing. During the ex parte hearing, the magistrate reviews the forms, asks questions of the petitioner and determines whether a temporary Civil Stalking Protection Order is warranted. This temporary order will be valid until the second hearing, known as an evidentiary hearing. Prior to the ex parte hearing, it is your responsibility to provide the court with a correct address of the person from whom you are seeking protection.

At the second hearing, both you and the person you are seeking protection from will be present. To obtain a Civil Stalking Protection Order you have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the person you are seeking protection from
  1. engaged in a pattern of conduct,
  2. through this pattern of conduct the person knowingly caused you, and/or the person you are seeking protection for, to believe that the offender will cause physical harm or mental distress.

The presiding magistrate will make a determination as to whether a full Civil Stalking Protection Order is warranted. This decision is subject to approval by a judge.

How long are Civil Stalking Protection Orders valid?
Based upon the evidence presented at the full evidentiary hearing, the Court can issue a Civil Stalking Protection Order for a maximum period of five years. Based upon the evidence presented, the Court will determine the appropriate length of the order. The order’s expiration date will be clearly marked on the front page of the order.

Can a Civil Stalking Order be renewed?
A Civil Stalking Protection Order may be renewed. An individual seeking to renew a Civil Stalking Protection Order prior to the order’s expiration date may file a motion with the Court for renewal. The Court will hold a hearing on the motion and the respondent will have the opportunity to be present. Based upon the evidence presented at the hearing, the Court will determine if a renewal is warranted. The Richland County Clerk of Court provides a motion form, which can be used to submit a motion to renew a Civil Stalking Protection Order to the Court.

If an individual seeks to renew a Civil Stalking Protection Order after the order has expired, the individual must file a new petition setting forth the reasons for the renewal. The Court will hold a hearing on the new petition and the respondent will have the opportunity to be present. Based upon the evidence presented at the hearing, the Court will determine if a renewal is warranted.

Can a Civil Stalking Order be dropped?
The Richland County Court of Common Pleas takes the issuance of a Civil Stalking Protection Order very seriously. Civil Stalking Protection Orders will only be dismissed upon a showing of good cause. An individual seeking to dismiss or “drop” a Civil Stalking Protection Order must file a motion with the Court setting forth the grounds for dismissal. If the Court finds that there is good cause to dismiss the petition, it may do so: or it may set a hearing on the matter. The Richland County Clerk of Court provides a motion form, which can be used to submit a motion to dismiss a Civil Stalking Protection Order to the Court. If an individual wants to dismiss his or her petition for a Civil Stalking Protection Order prior to the full evidentiary hearing, he or she may do so by written motion filed with the Court or may orally make the request to the Court prior to the start of the hearing.

What do I do if someone is violating a Civil Stalking Protection Order?
If you have a Civil Stalking Protection Order and the person against whom the order is issued violates the order, call the police (911) IMMEDIATELY.

Ohio Revised Code §2903.214(K) provides for criminal and civil contempt punishments for violators of Civil Stalking Protection Orders. If you believe that an individual has violated a Civil Stalking Protection Order, you may file a motion for contempt with the Richland County Court of Common Pleas.

I have been served notice of a Civil Stalking Protection Order hearing. What do I do?
DO NOT CONTACT THE PETITIONER. It is likely that there is already a temporary protection order against you. This order is enforceable until the date of the evidentiary hearing for which you were notified. If you violate the temporary order you are subject to arrest and/or contempt of court sanctions.

You may agree to the terms of the issuance of the protection order. If you do not agree, during the evidentiary hearing you or your attorney may defend against the petitioner’s claims. After both sides have presented their case the magistrate will determine whether a full Civil Stalking Protection Order is warranted. This determination is subject to a judge’s approval.

I have a Civil Stalking Protection Order issued against me and the petitioner is violating it. What can I do?
Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §2903.214(E)(3), a Civil Stalking Protection Order does not require a petitioner to do or refrain from doing an act, unless the respondent has filed a separate petition for a Civil Stalking Protection Order against the petitioner, and the Court has heard the matter.

If a Civil Stalking Protection Order has been issued against you, and the petitioner is engaging you in conduct, you may call the police to report such conduct. Additionally, if you believe that the petitioner is engaged in menacing by stalking against you, you may file for a Civil Stalking Protection Order against the petitioner.

Be advised that the petitioner cannot give you legal permission to violate a Civil Stalking Protection Order. If you go near the petitioner or any other protected person, even with their consent, YOU MAY BE ARRESTED.


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