What is a Civil Protection Order
CPO is issued by a domestic relations court to protect a victim
of domestic violence. A CPO is intended to prevent further
domestic violence. It orders someone who has been abusive to do
or not do certain things in the future. You may want to
consider getting a CPO even if you have a TPO from a criminal
court because a CPO lasts longer and provides more benefits --
such as visitation and support orders.
Why get a Civil
you are a victim of domestic violence, a CPO may help you. Once
domestic violence starts, the violence often happens more often
and gets increasingly severe. A CPO may stop this cycle of
violence because the court orders the Respondent to stop hurting
or threatening you, your family or household members. A court
can use a CPO to order the Respondent to stay away from you for
up to five years. A CPO can give you time to "sort things out"
and decide what you want to do next without having to be afraid
all of the time. If your children have seen domestic violence,
a CPO may give all of you a chance to seek help so that you and
your children are safe.
domestic violence is a crime. A CPO tells the Respondent you and
the court are serious about requiring the Respondent to stop his
or her abusive behavior and not to hurt or threaten you again.
a CPO sets some "rules" that the Respondent must obey while the
CPO is in effect. These rules may require the Respondent to pay
child or spousal support, give up possession of a home or a car,
or obey the court's orders about visitation.
a CPO issued by a domestic relations court may last longer than
a TPO issued by a criminal court and can provide more options.
Who can get a Civil Protection
can apply for a CPO if you are related to the Respondent by
blood or marriage and have lived with the respondent at any
time; OR you are living with or have lived with the Respondent
during the past five years; OR you used to be married to the
Respondent; OR you have a child with the Respondent, whether or
not you ever married or lived together.
may be able to get a CPO if you have been dating the Respondent;
if you share family or financial responsibilities with the
Respondent; AND you have an intimate relationship with
that a CPO has limits. If you would like to discuss safety
planning and/or options please call at Mon.-Fri. 8:00 a.m. to
4:00 p.m. or the 24-hour hotline
Do I need an attorney to obtain a
Civil Protection Order?
but you are often better off having legal representation in your
CPO proceeding. Having an attorney represent you is especially
helpful when your case involves contested custody and visitation
and/or when an attorney represents the Respondent.
Must there be a court hearing for
me to obtain a Civil Protection Order?
There are two hearings involved in a CPO case: the
hearing and the full hearing.
Ex Parte Hearing:
the judge or magistrate finds that the events you described meet
the requirements of the law, the court will issue an
CPO and schedule a full hearing. If the Respondent is asked to
vacate the home in which you live, there will be a full hearing
within 7 days. Otherwise, a full hearing will be set within 10
The full hearing is the final hearing.
At this hearing, both you and the Respondent can testify. You
must be present at the full hearing. You should bring any
witnesses who can support your case. If the court issues a Full
Hearing CPO, the court files the CPO with the clerk of court.
The clerk serves the appropriate parties with certified copies
of the CPO. The CPO remains in force until the date indicated
in the CPO, with five years being the maximum. The court cannot
hold a full hearing until the Respondent has been served with
the Ex Parte
CPO. You may need to fill out forms for the clerk of courts to
If the Respondent does not show up for the full hearing, you can
still obtain a final CPO. However, if the Respondent is not
served with the
CPO before the full hearing, the court postpones the full
hearing until the Respondent is served. If the full hearing is
CPO remains in effect until the full hearing is held.