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Ongoing attack by ex-wife's use of the CPO process

After my client was able to plea down a domestic violence in Texas, he and his ex-wife were divorced.  He returned to Ohio.  His ex-wife followed.  The ex-wife's problems originally started when she starred in a pornographic video.  She now believed he was responsible for publishing her activity here in Ohio.

 She filed a request for a civil protection order.  My client went to the hearing but was unable to navigate the legalese and properly defend himself.  He asked for a continuance to hire counsel.

He hired me and we returned to show the wife could not provide any reason she should fear harm.  We were able to show my client just wanted to get on with his life.  The order was lifted and they both went their separate ways.

Bad CPO language

My client was allowed to text his ex-wife about the kids.  The kids were involved in a motor vehicle accident.  My client needed medical records to give to the insurance company.  The ex-wife knew she was angering my client by refusing to send the records.  Eventually, my client texted some things he should not have said.

Luckily, we were in a court that allowed for the facts of the dispute.  Remember, a violation of a CPO is a violation of an order of the court.  Facts around why the CPO was issued are normally not in play.

The judge saw that the ex-wife, the petitioner for the CPO, was heavily involved.  The case was resolved with my client's plea to a non-domestic, non-violence-related charge and he was put on probation.


Ohio Civil Protection Orders

Defending Against a CPO


Respondent or Petitioner




The Application

Anyone can allege that they need protection from another party.  It could be the wife seeking to be protected from the husband.  It could be a neighbor in need of protection against another neighbor.

The person who wants the order is the petitioner.  The petitioner goes to their county courthouse and makes a application.  Each county's process is different.  Each county has someone assigned to help.

There is an initial screening to insure the application has what is needed.  The court will then issue an "ex-parte" order prohibiting one party, the respondent, from contact with the petitioner.

Note that there is nothing about the petitioner contacting the respondent.  These only go one way.

The order will be served on the respondent.  The CPO is in place.

The court will schedule a hearing at which the petitioner must testify as to why the order is needed.  The respondent can show up and fight the order, giving reasons the order is not proper.  If the respondent is successful, the order is dropped.  If not, the order is in place for five years.

The Hearing

The hearing could be before a magistrate or judge.  The hearing can be in a courtroom, a conference room or even in an office.  The petitioner can make an opening statement.  The petitioner summarizes the facts he or she intends to present.  The respondent can likewise open.  The petitioner is then given the opportunity to testify, call witnesses and present evidence as to why the order should be put into place.  The respondent can cross-examine the petitioner to show why he or she believes parts of that story are incorrect.  After cross-examination, the petitioner can then again testify as to the subject matter of the cross examination.  The petitioner can call other witnesses.  After the petitioner, the respondent then has his or her chance to testify.  In like manner, the petitioner can cross-examine and then the respondent can again talk about what was covered in the cross examination.  The respondent can call other witnesses.  After the respondent is finished, each party can give closing statements.  The judge or magistrate makes the decision as to if the CPO will continue.


Respondent or Petitioner - no matter!




Much like trials, you must be prepared!

These hearings are in no way "easy".  They are just as difficult and require just as much preparation as any trial.

No matter if you are petitioner or respondent, you are too close to the issues.  You, alone and without counsel, will be discussing your life as you understood it.  There are a couple of problems here.

First, the judge or magistrate knows nothing about you.  Zero.  You are likely to place emphasis on events that you understand completely because you were there, you knew the context.  You can't leave the judge or magistrate scratching his or her head.

Second, you are trying to provide the judge or magistrate with fact that prove that you qualify for a CPO; you meet the requirements of a CPO.  Your events may be important, and they may speak volumes of why your are right and the other person is wrong, but they may not speak to the requirements for a CPO.

An attorney can take your life and format it so that the events that happened speak to the requirements of either obtaining or defending against a CPO.

No matter if you are applying for a CPO or defending against one,

take the time to call my office and obtain a free consultation.




Bad decision on CPO

My client was served with an initial ex-parte CPO and hired me to defend him.  He also had a divorce attorney who was less aggressive regarding litigating the criminal defense aspects of a CPO hearing.

My client wanted to see his kids.  Often, this blinds clients to the eventual outcome.  Often, a CPO application is a way to force the petitioner's vision of visitation.  If the respondent wants badly enough to see his kids, he will often consent to a CPO as long as visitation is included.

Bad idea!

Having negotiated a great visitation schedule and then consenting to the CPO, my client later hired me again to defend against an allegation of a violation.