Local Rules

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Title I: Pleadings and Motions

1.0 Compliance with Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure; Individual Assignment System (Revised 3/25/2015)

Unless otherwise provided herein, all pleadings, motions, and other filings shall comply in form and content with Title III, Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules of the Court of Common Pleas of Hamilton County, Ohio.

(A) (1) Individual assignment system.   As used in these rules, “individual assignment system” means the system in which, upon the filing in or transfer to the court or a division of the court, a case immediately is assigned by lot to a judge of the division, who becomes primarily responsible for the determination of the issues and proceeding in the case until its termination, subject to provisions of Rule 53 Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure.   All preliminary matters, including requests for continuances, shall be submitted for disposition to the judge or magistrate to whom the case has been assigned or, if the assigned judge or magistrate is unavailable, to the administrative judge. The individual assignment system ensures all of the following:

(a) Judicial accountability for the processing of individual cases;

(b) Timely processing of cases through prompt judicial control over cases and the pace of litigation;

(c) Random assignment of cases to judges of the division through an objective and impartial system that ensures the equitable distribution of cases between or among the judges of the division

(2) Modifications to the individual assignment system may be adopted to provide for the redistribution of cases involving the same parties, family members, or subject-matter. Any modifications shall satisfy divisions (A)(1)(a) to (c) of this rule.

(B) Assignment of refiled cases. In any instance where a previously filed and dismissed case is refiled, that case shall be reassigned to the judge originally assigned by lot to hear it unless, for good cause shown, that judge is precluded from hearing the case.

(C) Assignment upon reversal and remand from the Court of Appeals. When a case is reversed and remanded, the case may be reassigned by lot in accordance with the system authorized in (A)(1).  The case may or may not require a hearing to be set to resolve the issue at hand.  If a hearing is required, the court will set the matter upon the assigned judge or magistrate's docket.  

(D) Administrative Judge Relief from Case or Trial Duties.  The administrative judge of a court of division may be relieved of a portion of the judge's case or trial duties in order to manage the calendar and docket of the court or division.

1.1 Questionnaires

Attorneys will be required to complete the questionnaire for all divorce and dissolutions filed.

Questionnaires are to be typed and submitted by Plaintiff’s attorney and must include complete information for both Plaintiff and Defendant as known.

Questionnaires are to be submitted to the Domestic Relations Docket Office

(Room 03-46) the same day the divorce/dissolution is filed.

Any incomplete questionnaire will be returned to the attorney to be completed and resubmitted. The case number must be stamped on all questionnaires by the Clerk of Courts and returned to the Docket Office.

1.2 Continuances - Amended 05/01/2012

All continuances of scheduled matters shall be sought in strict compliance with this rule, and will be granted only for good cause shown.  The court will make the final determination as to whether to grant or deny a request or motion for continuance. 

The party requesting a continuance shall first seek the agreement of the other party.  If both parties agree to the continuance, the requesting party or counsel shall submit either a Continuance Order to the assigned judge (Form DR 8.1A), or to the assigned magistrate (Form DR 8.1).  In either case, the form shall be fully completed (including the specific reason for the requested continuance), AND signed by both parties or their counsel (personally, or by telephone authorization). 

If the consent of the other party cannot be obtained, the requesting party shall then file a motion for continuance, which shall be scheduled for hearing on the appropriate docket, with proper service upon, and adequate notice provided, to all parties.

The assigned judge or magistrate may assess reasonable costs and/or attorney fees against a party as a result of that party’s improvidently requesting or resisting the continuance.

1.3 Ohio Attorney

No action in the Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations for divorce, legal separation, annulment or dissolution of marriage, shall be filed or tried by an attorney not admitted to practice in the State of Ohio, unless there is co-counsel who is admitted to practice in Ohio.

1.4 Continuances and Dismissals - ELIMINATED 05/01/2012

1.5 Post Decree Motions and Filings– Amended 05-14-2012

On the filing of any post-decree motion, except for those listed herein below, the party filing the motion must pay a filing fee of $125.00, regardless of any custody or child support issues. 

The Court of Domestic Relations will exempt the following motions from payment of a filing fee:

§   Motion for Continuance

§   Motion for In Camera Interview

§   Motion to Mitigate

§   Motion to Set Aside Magistrate’s Order

§   Motion to Withdraw as Counsel

§   Motion to Compel

§   Motion for Attorney Fees

§   Motion for Guardian Ad Litem Fees

If a party asserts that they are indigent and unable to pay the $125.00 filing fee, a poverty affidavit will be required at the time of the filing.  The court will undertake a further review of the issue of costs at the hearing on the motion and make a final determination regarding payment. 

A filing fee will not be required for any pre-decree motions or pre- or post- decree Objections to Magistrate’s Decisions. 

1.6 Court Filings – Amended 04-01-2013

All documents to be filed of record in a Domestic Relations Court case (e.g. all pleadings, motions, notices of hearing, memoranda, trial briefs, findings of fact, etc.) must be presented to and acknowledged by the Domestic Relations Court Docket Office prior to being presented to the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts’ Office for filing. Sufficient legible copies of documents to be filed must accompany the originals so as to allow the Domestic Relations Court Docket Office to retain one (1) copy of all documents to be filed; to allow the Hamilton County Clerk of Court’s Office to retain, not only the originals, but also the number of copies it requires for service and other purposes; and for delivery of a copy of certain documents to the assigned Judge or Magistrate as required below.

All motions to be heard by either a Judge or a Magistrate must first be set for hearing by the Domestic Relations Court Docket Office prior to being presented to the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Office for filing. Written notice of the date, time, duration, type and place of any hearing on a motion, and sufficient copies of such notice, must then be filed with the Clerk of Court's Office and served along with the motion itself.

Immediately after filing with the Clerk of Court's Office, a filed stamped copy of any written memorandum, trial brief, final argument, request for findings of fact and conclusions of law, etc., which is to be considered by a Judge or Magistrate in resolving any issue in a case shall be submitted to that Judge or Magistrate by delivering the copy to the bailiff or constable for the Judge, or by leaving the copy in the Magistrate's mail box in room 2-100 or 2-34.

1.7 Classification and Notification Forms

No complaint in a domestic relations case shall be accepted for filing unless accompanied by a completed classification form provided by the Domestic Relations Docket Office in Room 03-46. No other pleading whereby an attorney makes his or her first appearance in a domestic relations case shall be accepted for filing unless accompanied by a completed notification form. The Clerk of Courts shall furnish such forms in Room 03-47.

1.8 Income and Expense Statement

An income and expense statement shall be filed and served on opposing party along with original pleadings or no later than 7 days prior to the date of the hearing. Upon failure of either party to submit such statement, the Magistrate may render a decision on the evidence presented, or order the matter reset and order appropriate attorney's fee.

1.9 Decree to Contain Specific Information

A decree will not be accepted unless it sets out specifically the amount of support payment per child, per month, spousal support, the exact date such payment is to commence and a statement that payment shall be made through the Child Support Enforcement Agency with an appropriate withholding order and medical forms attached.

In addition, the amount of arrearage, if any, as of a date certain shall be included, with reference to the mode of payment of such arrearage.

1.10 Filing; Time Limitations

Within seventy-five (75) days from the date of service, the Plaintiff must file one of the following or the case will be subject to dismissal without prejudice on the seventy-sixth (76) day:

  1. A "Request for Merit Setting" entry (prepared entry obtained in Domestic Relations Docket Office Room 03-46).

  2. A property statement which contains scheduling conference date.

  3. A request for custody investigation and payment of the appropriate fee.

1.11 Entry of Dismissal

All Entries of Dismissal, in which child support, spousal support or alimony are involved, shall incorporate the fact that the support obligation has terminated, the support account closed and arrearage reduced to zero. The original Entry shall be left with the Court Secretary.

1.12 Family File Number

The Family File Number must be on all motions other than those filed with the original complaint before a date for a hearing on the Judges’ Docket or Magistrates’ Docket will be assigned. The Family File Number may be obtained from the File Room (Room 03-50)

1.13 Agreed Entries - Amended 8-24-07

A. Reducing Support or Arrearage

Agreed Entries to reduce or terminate child support payments or to reduce or erase arrearages are not accepted.  A filed motion, with proper service to the Hamilton County Child Support Enforcement Agency, followed by a hearing is required.
An exception to the above will be made only in cases where the party against whom a reduction of support or arrearage is sought is represented by counsel, and an entry is presented, signed by all parties and counsel, setting forth the factual basis for such reduction and the fact that the party against whom the reduction was made agreed to the reduction voluntarily and with the advice and consent of counsel. An applicable motion with waiver of service and payment of the post-decree motion filing fee is required before the Magistrate will review the Agreed Entry.

B. Change of Residential Parent

Agreed entries changing the residential parent are not accepted. A filed motion, with proper service to the Hamilton County Child Support Enforcement Agency, followed by a hearing is required.
An exception to the above will be made only in cases where the party losing residential parent status is represented by counsel, and an entry is presented, signed by all parties and counsel, setting forth the agreement regarding the change in status and the effect thereon to child support payments, medical and dental insurance coverage and status of tax exemptions.An applicable motion with waiver of service and payment of the post-decree motion filing fee is required before the Magistrate will review the Agreed Entry.

C. Shared Parenting Plans

Minor changes to Shared Parenting Plans are exempted.

D. Generally

Agreed entries shall bear the signature of all parties and counsel.
In cases where a party is not represented by counsel and an Agreed Entry purports to deprive such party of a right or otherwise operates to the potential detriment of such party, a hearing on the merits of such matters shall be conducted by the Court before such entry shall be accepted and journalized by the Court.

When applicable, requisite income and expense forms must accompany all Agreed Entries presented to the Court.

 

1.14 Service; Pleadings Invoking Continuing Jurisdiction

Pleadings invoking the continuing jurisdiction of the Court pursuant to Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure 75(J) shall be served according to the provisions regarding service of process in Rule 4 to 4.6, Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure. Responsive pleadings may be served upon the attorney of record in the proceedings pursuant to Rule 5(B), Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure.

1.15 Voluntary Dismissal; Stipulation or Notice of

  1. Stipulations or notices of voluntary dismissal of a Domestic Court action shall be governed by the provisions of Rule 41, Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure.

  2. Before such stipulations or notices can be accepted by the Clerk of Courts, a copy thereof must be filed with the Domestic relations Court, and the original stipulation or notice must bear the endorsement of the Domestic Relations Court demonstrating that a copy thereof was filed with the Domestic Relations Docket Office (Room 03-46)

1.16 Ex Parte Orders – Amended 3-18-08

      No ex parte applications, orders, motions, or entries shall be submitted unless expressly authorized by law.

 An expedited hearing may be requested in extraordinary circumstances. The moving party will be required to present their motion and attached affidavit outlining the need for an expedited hearing to the assigned magistrate for review.  In the absence of the assigned magistrate, the moving party shall present their motion and attached affidavit to the Administrative Magistrate for review.  If an expedited hearing is approved, the moving party will be required to provide notice   to the non-moving party in accordance with Civ. R. 6(D) and to perfect service of their motion in accordance with Civ. R. 4.3(B).

1.17 Merit Hearing Settings

Merit hearings will not be scheduled without the filing of a "Request for Merit Setting" entry form 9.1 (available in Room 03-46). This states that all matters pertaining to alimony, support, parenting and division of property have been resolved. This entry is submitted to the Docket Office (Room 03-46) who will then schedule a hearing. Decrees must be presented to the Court at the time of the merit hearing. The "Request for Merit Setting" entry will not be necessary for Dissolutions filed.

1.18 Motion for Modification, Enforcement or Termination of Support Order to be Served

1.18 Motion for Modification, Enforcement or Termination of Support Order to

        be Served on Child Support Enforcement Agency - Amended 8-24-07

 

Pursuant to O.R.C. §3121.25, any party filing a motion for modification, enforcement or termination of a support order, shall serve a copy thereof on the Child Support Enforcement Agency, 222 E. Central Parkway 6th Floor, Cincinnati, Ohio.

1.19 Identification Requirement

Initial filing documents presented to the Domestic Relations Docket Office shall include a legible copy of a driver’s license or a State of Ohio Identification card. Copies of either will be acceptable.

1.20 Interest on Support Arrearage

"Where interest on a support arrearage is an issue, the motion or other pleading shall include the following information:

  1. The date(s) of each court order fixing or modifying the sum(s) to be paid;

  2. The total claimed delinquency, without interest; and

  3. The amount of interest being requested and the calculations relied upon in support of the claim. Counsel shall oversee these calculations so that he/she can verify the reasonable accuracy of the figures.

Respondents who contest any of the figures proposed by the movant shall file a responsive pleading 28 days prior to the hearing date. The pleading shall address the factors listed in (1-3) and shall state with specificity the documents relied upon and the reasons for the disparity in the figures, if known."

1.21 Title IV-D Requirement

When filing a Complaint for Divorce and/or Petition for Dissolution and child(ren) are involved, a IV-D Application MUST accompany the filing.

In addition, when filing a Post-Decree Motion involving health care or support, a IV-D Application MUST accompany the motion.

1.22 Indigency Proceedings

A. Poverty Affidavits

The deposit or costs shall be considered met if a party files an Affidavit of Poverty swearing, in good faith, that the party does not have sufficient funds at present to pay the deposit and there is a certification by the attorney, if any, that no attorney fees have been paid. The filing of a Poverty Affidavit does not relieve a party from liability for court costs. Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the Court from assessing costs to the other party.

B. Subsequent Deposit

If, during the course of a proceeding, the Court learns that a party, who has filed a Poverty Affidavit, is or has become able to pay the applicable court costs, the Court may order that party to pay the court costs within a reasonable period of time commensurate with the circumstances. Additionally, if it is determined by the Court that there was an intent by the party or the attorney to misrepresent the facts put forth in the affidavit in any way, sanctions may be levied by the Court.

1.23 Termination of Inactive Cases

An inactive case is a case which has been on the docket for six months and which (1) has not been tried, (2) is not awaiting trial assignment, and (3) is not stayed by order of the Judge to whom the case is assigned. Inactive cases shall be set for hearing to be tried or dismissed or for report after written notice to counsel of record or to unrepresented parties.

1.24 Pregnancy Disclosure and Disputed Parentage - Amended 1/01/2011

In actions for divorce, dissolution of marriage, annulment and legal separation:

  1. Where the wife is pregnant or either party asserts that a child born during the marriage is not the husband’s child, the initial pleading shall set forth the husband’s paternity status in relation to the child;

  2. If a pregnancy or disputed paternity status has not been disclosed in the initial pleadings, an amended pleading shall be filed setting forth the husband’s paternity status in relation to the child;

  3. If either party denies the husband’s paternity, the Court shall proceed, pursuant to ORC Chapter 3111.10, to determine if the parent and child relationship exists between the husband and the child, and then shall proceed to hear and determine all aspects of the case. 

1.25 Motion for Contempt for Failure to Reimburse Medical Costs

  1. A party requesting reimbursement or payment of medical costs shall deliver appropriate documentation of such costs to the other party or parties by hand delivery, certified mail, regular mail, fax or e-mail. If a party delivers the documentation by hand, the receiving party shall sign a document acknowledging receipt. No parent shall deliver medical bills to the other parent through a minor child.

  2. A Movant who requests a finding of contempt for a failure to reimburse medical costs shall completely fill out and attach to the motion the Medical Expense Sheet (Form # 1.25).

  3. Actual copies of the medical bills and/or Explanation of Benefits forms shall not be attached to the motion, but may be presented as exhibits at the hearing if not otherwise stipulated into evidence.

1.26 Mandatory Disclosure Order - New Rule, Effective 1-2-08 -- Amended 10-1-2009

(A)       Mandatory Disclosure Order

           In every new action for divorce, legal separation or annulment, the plaintiff shall obtain a copy of the Administrative Judge’s Order Re: Mandatory Disclosure Pursuant to Local Rule 1.26 (Form No. DR 1.26).  The Order shall be served upon the defendant along with the complaint and supplemental documents.  Within 45 days of service on the defendant of the Complaint For Divorce, Legal Separation or Annulment and Mandatory Disclosure Order, each party shall disclose to the other all of the following information and documents that is in his or her custody, possession or control:

    1. All real estate deeds and vehicle titles;
    2. The most recently issued statements on all bank accounts, annuities, stocks, and bonds;
    3. The most recently issues statements regarding pensions, profit sharing plans, retirement benefits, and IRA’s, including the most recent summary plan description; 
    4. All life insurance policies in force now or within the last six months, including the most recent cash value statements;
    5. The last three years’ income tax returns;
    6. Proof of current income from all sources;
    7. Health, dental and vision insurance coverage available along with ALL plan options and costs (i.e. single, family, etc.);
    8. All COBRA benefits to which either party may be entitled, including cost estimates;
    9. Child care expenses;
    10. The most recently issued statements for all liabilities including, but not limited to, mortgages, lines of credit, loans, and credit card accounts;
    11. Completed  Property Statement (Form No. DR 4.1);
    12. Completed Affidavit of Income, Expenses & Financial Disclosure (Form No. DR 7.3).

(B)       Manner of Disclosure

           The disclosures referred to in paragraph (A) shall be made by providing copies of documents in one of the following manners:

    1. Electronic e-mail to the other party’s attorney;
    2. Facsimile to the other party’s attorney;
    3. Mail to the other party’s attorney; or
    4. Hand delivery to the other party’s attorney.

If a party is unrepresented, this disclosure shall be as provided herein to the party.

(C)       Extension of Time

            For good cause shown, a motion or an agreed entry may be filed to modify the Mandatory Disclosure Order or to extend the time to disclose the             foregoing information and documents.

(D)       Failure to Comply with Disclosure Order

            Failure to comply with the Mandatory Disclosure Order may result in sanctions, including, but not limited to, the following:

    1. A finding of contempt;
    2. Award of attorney fees;
    3. Dismissal of claims; and
    4. Restrictions upon the submission of evidence.

 

1.27 Interpretive Services - Revised Rule, Amended 3-28-2011

When interpretive services are needed, the attorney or party requesting an interpreter shall complete Form DR 1.7 (Request for Interpreter) and submit it to Deanna Rohe Rm. 2-34 or Fax - (513) 946-9070 no later than ten days before the scheduled hearing. The Court will arrange for an appropriate interpreter to be present for the hearing. 

1.28 Special Projects' Fee - Revised 03/25/2015

This Court has determined that, for the efficient operation of the Court, additional funds are necessary to acquire and pay for special projects of the Court.

 Pursuant to ORC 2303.201(E)(1), a special project fee shall be collected by the Clerk of Courts upon the initial filing of a Divorce, Legal Separation, Annulment or Dissolution, and for post decree motions.

Beginning June 1, 2014, the fee assessed upon referral to the Court’s Early Neutral Evaluation program will be processed as a Special Project Fee.

Beginning March 25, 2015, the fee assessed upon referral to the Court’s Post-Decree Mediation program will be processed as a Special Project Fee.

Beginning April 18, 2016, the fee assessed upon referral to the Court's in-person Mandatory Parenting Education Class "Parenting Through Transitions" will be processed as a Special Project Fee.

 All moneys collected by the Clerk of Courts under this rule shall be paid to the Hamilton County Treasurer, to be disbursed upon order of this Court.

Title II: Parenting Allocations

2.0 Pre-Decree Divorce Cases

Contested Parenting

In cases where both parties request to be the residential parent and legal custodian of the minor child(ren), the Court, pursuant to O.R.C. Section 3109.04(a)(1), shall allocate the parental rights and responsibilities to one of the parents and designate that parent the residential parent and legal custodian of the minor children. The Court shall divide between the parties the other rights and responsibilities including, but not limited to, support and the right to have continued contact with the minor child(ren).

In cases where at least one party files a plan for shared parenting, the Court, pursuant to O.R.C. Section 3109.04(a)(2), may allocate the parental rights and responsibilities to both parents if a plan for shared parenting is in the best interest of the minor child(ren). The Court may require the parents to share all or some aspects of the physical and legal care of the minor child(ren). 

Agreed Entries

In cases where the parties are in agreement as to which parent is to be designated the residential parent and legal custodian of the minor child(ren), an Agreed Entry is to be filed with the Court. Parenting time must be delineated in accordance with O.R.C. Section 3109.051.

Uncontested Parenting

In uncontested cases where only one party appears, the Court shall allocate parental rights by making one party the residential parent and legal custodian. The Court shall award specific parenting time rights to the other party, unless the Court makes a determination that parenting time would not be in the best interest of the minor child(ren).

2.1 Pre-Decree Dissolution Cases

A Separation Agreement must designate which parent is to be the residential parent and legal custodian of the minor child(ren) and must set forth a specific schedule of parenting time for the parent who will not be the residential parent. Parenting time must be delineated in accordance with O.R.C. Section 3109.051. The Court will also consider a Shared Parenting Plan, which must be submitted to the Docket Office at the time of filing for approval by the Court.

2.2 Post Decree Cases

Contested Changes

In post-decree cases where there is no agreement between the parties, a Motion to reallocate the parental rights and responsibilities for the care of the minor child(ren) must be filed, along with an Affidavit. A hearing will be held before the assigned Judge or Magistrate. The Court, pursuant to O.R.C. Section 3109.04(E)(1)(a), shall not modify a prior decree allocating parental rights and responsibilities unless it finds, based on facts that have arisen since the prior decree or that were unknown to the Court at the time of the prior decree, that a change has occurred in the circumstances of the child, the child’s residential parent, or either of the parents subject to a shared parenting decree, and that the modification is necessary to serve the best interest of the minor child(ren).

Agreed Changes

If a party who is giving up a parental right in an Agreed Entry is represented by an attorney, no hearing is necessary. If that party is not represented by an attorney, a hearing is required. Any agreed change from residential parent to shared parenting requires that a Decree of Shared Parenting be filed with the Shared Parenting Plan. Every Agreed Entry changing the parental status of a minor child must be accompanied by a child support worksheet. Prior Withholding Orders may need to be terminated or revised. Effective dates of new Orders and arrearage issues must be addressed. 

2.3 Investigation

Introduction

Through this local rule, the Hamilton County Domestic Relations Court incorporates by reference O.R.C. Section 3109.04(C), which states: Prior to trial, the court may cause an investigation to be made as to the character, family relations, past conduct, earning ability, and financial worth of each parent and may order the parents and their minor children to submit to medical, psychological, and psychiatric examinations. The report of the investigation and examinations shall be made available to either parent or the parent’s counsel of record not less than five days before trial, upon written request. The report shall be signed by the investigator, and the investigator shall be subject to cross-examination by either parent concerning the contents of the report. The court may tax as costs all or any part of the expenses for each investigation.

Definitions
“Brief Focused Investigation” is an evaluation:

  1. Conducted by a Social Worker/Counselor and completed in approximately six weeks.
  2. Typically required in cases where one of the following is present:
    1. The parents disagree as to the designation of residential parent and legal custodian and the child or children are 10 years of age or older;
    2. A parent has filed to relocate the child(ren) and the other parent does not consent to the move;
    3. The parents have a Shared Parenting Plan and one parent has filed for a change in the Plan to which the other parent does not agree; OR
    4. A parent has filed to modify the parenting time schedule and the other parent does not agree.
    5. HOWEVER, the Court may require a Full Investigation should complex circumstances and issues exist regarding the well-being of the child(ren) and/or functioning of the parents.
  3. Typically consists of:
    1. One joint interview with both parents;
    2. One interview with each child within the family unit; AND
    3. Obtainment of pertinent collateral information.
  4. Resulting in a report issued by the Social Worker/Counselor, which will include recommendations as to the child(ren)’s best interests.

“Full Investigation” is an evaluation:

  1. Conducted by a Social Worker/Counselor and completed in approximately four months.
  2. Typically required in cases where one of the following is present:
    1. The parents disagree as to the designation of residential parent and legal custodian and one or all of the children are under 10 years of age; OR
    2. The Court has rejected the parents’ shared parenting requests and desires further investigation.
    3. HOWEVER, the Court may require only a Brief Focused Investigation should mitigating circumstances and limited issues exist regarding the well-being of the child(ren) and/or functioning of the parents.
  3. Typically consists of:
    1. One or more joint interviews with both parents;
    2. One or more individual interviews with each parent;
    3. Interviews with stepparents or significant others;
    4. One or more interviews with each child within the family unit;
    5. Obtainment of outside information from schools, counselors, hospitals, physicians, social service agencies, police and witnesses; AND
    6. Home visits performed on each parent’s household, if determined necessary.
  4. Resulting in a report issued by the Social Worker/Counselor, which will include recommendations as to the child(ren)’s best interests.

Procedure

In any pre-decree or post-decree matter, in which the parents are not agreed as to the parenting arrangements for the children, and after the parents have exhausted available reasonable means of settlement (mediation, early neutral evaluation, settlement conference, collaborative law), or the Court determines that such means are to be waived, an investigation of the family will be ordered. The Court will enter the Order, and submit a Request for Service Form (DR 2.4) to the Dispute Resolution Department. The matter will be investigated by a Social Worker/Counselor in the Dispute Resolution Department, according to departmental protocols. The Social Worker/Counselor will issue a report and mail it, via the Clerk’s Office, to the attorneys, or parties if self-represented. Psychological reports and other confidential material will not be mailed but may be reviewed by arrangement with the Dispute Resolution Department. The Social Worker/Counselor will set a pretrial conference before the assigned Judge. Should the matter remain contested, the Court will conduct a trial to resolve the matter. Any trial involving testimony by the Social Worker/Counselor requires a subpoena..

Fees and Costs

The cost for a Full Investigation is $800.00 and the cost for a Brief Focused Investigation is $400.00. The Court may waive fees if the parties are indigent. Investigation services provided by the Dispute Resolution Department shall not commence until any applicable fees are paid to the Clerk of Court. Should a refund become necessary, the attorney or self-represented party must prepare an Order to Clerk of Courts to Refund Investigation/Mediation Fee (DR 41.30), which must include the amount of the refund, which party is to receive the refund, and full names and addresses of all involved parties. This form must be delivered to the Dispute Resolution Department for authorization by the Supervisor. Once an investigation has been initiated by interview of both or either party, a refund will not be provided.

2.4 Informal Parenting Time Assistance

The Department of Parenting Service may handle phone calls and walk-in requests for assistance pertaining to parenting time problems for those cases where there are no pending motions before the Court. A letter may be mailed to the other party asking that he/she call the Dispute Resolution Department to discuss the complaint and, when agreed, the assigned Social Worker/Counselor will assist the parents in resolving their dispute or will direct the parents to other services.  All contacts with the Dispute Resolution Department will be documented in the Court’s computer system.

2.5 Standard Parenting Order

O.R.C.§3109.05(F)(2) requires the Court to adopt standard parenting time guidelines. The Court shall have the discretion to deviate from the guidelines set forth in the Standard Parenting Order (DR 2.7) as circumstances dictate.

2.6 Conciliation – Amended 11-17-99

Conciliation efforts will only be initiated and entertained upon motion made pursuant to and in accordance with the provisions of O.R.C. Section 3105.091. When conciliation is initiated upon the motion of a party, the other party may file and serve a written memorandum in opposition to the motion within ten days from the date of service of the original motion. No reply memorandum in support of the motion will be permitted. Pursuant to Civ. R. 7(B)(2), motions for conciliation will be submitted and determined without oral hearing. If the motion is granted by the Court, the conciliation request will be referred to the Dispute Resolution Department.  The parties will be notified and one session with the Social Worker/Counselor will be held.  The Social Worker/Counselor will issue a report. The fee for conciliation is $ 150.00.

2.7 Notice of Relocation - Amended 3-01-10

The residential parent must notify the Court of any intent to relocate by completing a “Notice of Intent to Relocate” form (DR 2.8) and submitting it to the Court’s Docket Office. The non-residential parent must also notify the Court of any intent to relocate if there is a support Order in effect. In addition, if a Shared Parenting Plan is in effect, each parent must notify the Court as well. The Docket Office will file the original form with the Clerk of Court’s Office, and will send a copy to the non-relocating parent and to the Hamilton County Child Support Enforcement Agency.

If the non-relocating parent wishes to contest the relocation, he or she must file a motion to bring the matter before the Court for consideration.  The Docket Office will schedule a hearing before the assigned Judge.

In accordance with Ohio Revised Code Section 3109.051(G), the relocating parent may request a hearing on the issue of prohibiting notification of the new address to the other parent (see DR 2.8, pg. 2). When such a hearing is requested, the relocating parent should only list an address for him/herself where notification of the hearing date can be sent. The Docket Office will schedule a hearing before the assigned Magistrate.

Neither parent may remove the child(ren) from and establish residence outside of the area specified in the Parenting Time Order, Decree or Shared Parenting Plan without the Court’s permission.  Approval may be granted through an Order from this Court or an Agreed Entry signed by both parents and each parent’s attorney, if applicable. In the absence of an Agreed Entry, the parent desiring to relocate must complete DR 2.8 and file a motion requesting a hearing on the issue.  The Docket Office will schedule a hearing before the assigned Judge.

The Court may require an investigation in the Dispute Resolution Department as to the best interests of the child(ren). The attorneys or self-represented parties will receive a copy of the report in the mail, sent through the Clerk of Court’s Office.  The matter will be set back on the Judge’s docket by the assigned Social Worker/Counselor.

2.8 Mediation - Amended 1-1-2007

Introduction

Through this local rule, the Hamilton County Domestic Relations Court incorporates by reference O.R.C. Chapter 2710 “Uniform Mediation Act” (UMA), O.R.C. Section 3109.052 Mediation of Differences as to Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities, and Rule 16 of the Supreme Court of Ohio Rules of Superintendence.

Definitions

“Mediation” is any process in which a mediator facilitates communication and negotiation between parties to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their dispute. A “mediator” is a third-party neutral, who conducts mediation and facilitates the communication between parties.

Purpose

To promote greater efficiency and public satisfaction through the facilitation of the earliest possible resolution for Domestic Relations cases through the use of mediation. To accomplish this goal, the Court’s Mediation Services Program is established.

Procedure

All mediation sessions conducted by the Court’s Mediation Services Program will take place through the Dispute Resolution Department at the Hamilton County Domestic Relations Court (800 Broadway, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202) during regular business hours (8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday). Court personnel will assign the mediator and set the date and time for the first mediation appointment through a “Mediation Appointment Letter”. A mediator may meet with the parties individually prior to bringing the parties together for any reason, including further domestic violence screening. A mediator may schedule mutually acceptable multiple mediation sessions. The Court’s Mediation Services Program will determine the eligibility and appropriateness of each referral prior to the commencement of the mediation process and may decline any referral(s) it deems inappropriate for mediation.

Referral Process

a.       Pre-Decree Mediation

1.      Early Intervention Mediation (EIM): At the onset of the divorce process, all parties with disputes about the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities may be ordered to attend EIM. The Court will issue an Order for EIM, which will be forwarded by the Court to the Dispute Resolution Department.

2.      Non-EIM Mediation: The Court may order parties to mediation later in the divorce process.  The mediator may be either community-based, or a court mediator. If the Court has ordered the parties to attend mediation but not designated where the parties are to attend, the parties may select a community-based mediator from the Court’s list of approved mediators or select to attend the Court’s Mediation Services Program. If the parties select the court program, they are responsible for providing the Order, contact information, and fee payment information to the Dispute Resolution Department before a mediation session will be scheduled. If the Court has ordered the parties to attend mediation in the Court’s Mediation Services Program, the Court will forward the Order to Dispute Resolution Department.

b.      Post-Decree Mediation

1.      Court-Ordered: Following the entry of a decree of divorce or dissolution, the Court on its own motion or on the motion of the parties may order disputed post-decree parenting issues to mediation in whole or in part. The mediator may be either a community-based mediator from the Court’s list of approved mediators, or a court mediator from the Court’s Mediation Services Program.

2.      Agreed: The parties may obtain mediation by agreement in an effort to resolve disputes related to their parenting Orders. If the parties wish to obtain mediation to resolve parenting issues either as a result of a stipulation in their divorce decree, or because they desire an alternative to litigation, either party may contact the Dispute Resolution Department to initiate mediation. The Dispute Resolution Department will attempt to secure agreement as to whether the parties will attend mediation with a community-based mediator, or attend mediation with a court mediator.

c.       Domestic Abuse: All parties and counsel shall advise the assigned Judge or Magistrate of any domestic violence allegations known to exist or that have existed in the past, or which become known to them following entry of the Order but before conclusion of all mediation proceedings, which allegations involve two or more persons whose attendance is required by the referral Order.

 

The Court shall utilize procedures for all cases that will:

a.       Ensure that parties are allowed to participate in mediation, and if the parties wish, that their attorneys and other individuals they designate are allowed to accompany them and participate in mediation.

b.      Screen for domestic violence both before and during mediation.

c.       Encourage appropriate referrals to legal counsel and other support services for all parties, including victims of and suspected victims of domestic violence. A brochure is displayed in public areas, which is available to mediators and other staff to distribute to clients as appropriate.

d.      Prohibit the use of mediation in any of the following:

1)       In determining whether to grant, modify or terminate a protection Order;

2)       As an alternative to the prosecution or adjudication of domestic violence;

3)       In determining the terms and conditions of a protection Order; and

4)       In determining the penalty for violation of a protection Order.

5)       However, nothing in this division of this rule shall prohibit the use of mediation in a
subsequent divorce or custody case even though that case may result in the
termination of the provisions of a protection Order.

 

Mediation of allocation of parental rights and responsibilities or the care of, or parenting time with, minor children shall abide by all provisions set forth in this rule. Mediation may then proceed, when violence or fear of violence is alleged, suspected, or present, only if the mediator has specialized training as set forth in “Mediator Qualifications” of this rule and all of the following conditions are satisfied:

a.       The person who is or may be the victim of domestic violence is fully informed, both orally and in writing, about the mediation process, his or her right to decline participation in the mediation process, and his or her option to have a support person present at the mediation sessions.

b.      The parties have the capacity to mediate without fear of coercion or control.

c.       Appropriate procedures are in place to provide for the safety of the person who is or may be the victim of domestic violence and all other persons present at the mediation.

d.      Procedures are in place for the mediator to terminate mediation if he or she believes there is a continued threat of domestic violence or coercion between the parties. The Court requires all mediators to whom it refers cases to use established procedures to terminate mediation if the mediator believes there is a continued threat of domestic violence or coercion between the parties. Each party must be informed of the termination of the mediation, safety planning, and next steps separately in caucus.

e.       Procedures are in place for issuing written findings of fact, as required by O.R.C. Section 3109.052, to refer certain cases involving domestic violence to mediation.

 

Confidentiality/Privilege - All mediation communications related to or made during the mediation process are subject to and governed by the “Uniform Mediation Act” (UMA) O.R.C. Sections 2710.01 to 2710.10, O.R.C. Section 3109.052, the Rules of Evidence and any other pertinent judicial rules. In furtherance of the confidentially set forth in this rule, parties and non-parties desiring confidentiality of mediation communications shall execute a written “Agreement to Mediate” prior to the mediation session. If a new or different person(s) attend a subsequent session, their signatures shall be obtained prior to proceeding further in the process. A blank “Agreement to Mediate” form is available for review by any prospective participant by contacting the Dispute Resolution Department.

Mediator Conflicts of Interest - The mediator assigned by the Court to conduct a mediation shall disclose to the mediation parties, counsel, if applicable, and any nonparty participants any known possible conflicts that may affect the mediator’s impartiality as soon as such conflict(s) become known to the mediator. If counsel or a mediation party requests that the assigned mediator withdraw because of the facts so disclosed, the assigned mediator should withdraw and request that the assigned Judge or Magistrate appoint another mediator from the list of qualified mediators that is maintained by the Court. The parties shall be free to retain the mediator by an informed, written waiver of the conflict(s) of interest.

 

Termination - If the assigned mediator determines that further mediation efforts would be of no benefit to the parties, he or she shall inform all interested parties and the Court that the mediation is terminated using the procedure required by this Court.

 

Stay of Proceedings - All remaining court Orders shall continue in effect. No Order is stayed or suspended during the mediation process except by written court Order. Mediation shall not stay discovery, which may continue through the mediation process in accordance with applicable rules, unless agreed upon by the parties and approved by the Judge or Magistrate assigned to the case.

 

Continuances - It is the policy of this Court to determine matters in a timely fashion. Continuances of scheduled mediations shall be granted only for good cause shown. The mediator or the Judge or the Magistrate who referred the case for mediation may reset the mediation appointment. Except as authorized by the Court, the existence of pending motions shall not be good cause for a continuance.

Mediator Report - At the conclusion of the mediation, the mediator shall inform the Court of the status of the mediation including all of the following:

a.       Whether the mediation occurred or was terminated;

b.      Whether an agreement was reached on some, all or none of the issues; and

c.       Attendance of the parties.

Mediator Qualifications

General Qualifications and Training - A mediator employed by the Dispute Resolution Department or to whom the Department makes referrals for mediation of allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, the care of, or parenting time with, minor children, abuse, neglect and dependency, or juvenile perpetrated domestic violence cases shall satisfy all of the following:

a.       Possess a bachelor’s degree, or equivalent education or experience as is satisfactory to the Department, and at least two years of professional experience with families. “Professional experience with families” includes mediation, counseling, casework, legal representation in family law matters, or such other equivalent experience satisfactory to the Department.

b.      Complete at least twelve hours of basic mediation training or equivalent experience as a mediator that is satisfactory to the Department.

c.       After completing the above training, complete at least forty hours of specialized family or divorce mediation training that has been approved by the Dispute Resolution Section of the Supreme Court.

 

Specific Qualifications and Training: Domestic Abuse - A mediator employed by the Department or to whom the Department makes referrals for mediation of any case shall complete at least fourteen hours of specialized training in domestic abuse and mediation through a training program approved by the Ohio Supreme Court Dispute Resolution Section. A mediator who has not completed this specialized training may mediate cases only if he/she co-mediates with a mediator who has completed the specialized training.

 

Additional Qualifications – A mediator employed by the Court or to whom the Court makes referrals for mediation of any case shall comply with the following:

a.       Complete 20 hours of co-mediation with an existing mediator, who has completed the above-cited training and who has mediated for at least two years.

b.      Maintain appropriate liability insurance in the amount of $300,000 in coverage.

 

List of Qualified Mediators

a.       The Court Administrator maintains a list of qualified mediators and shall distribute that list to all Judges and Magistrates of the Court.

b.      The Court shall review applications of persons seeking to be added to the list of qualified mediators in accordance with the procedures adopted by the Judges of the Court.

Fees and Costs

There is no fee for Early Intervention Mediation (EIM). There is a $150.00 fee for all other mediation through the Court’s Mediation Services Program. The parties may agree to the allocation of the costs of the mediation. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the mediation costs will be shared equally or as allocated otherwise by Order of the Court. The Court may waive costs if the parties are indigent. Mediation services provided by the Court’s Mediation Services Program shall not commence until any applicable fees are paid to the Clerk of Court.

Sanctions

If any individual ordered by the Court to attend mediation fails to attend mediation without good cause, the Court may impose sanctions including, but not limited to, the award of attorney’s fees and other costs, contempt or other appropriate sanctions.

Model Standards

Mediators providing services for the Court shall comply with the Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation, and the Special Policy Considerations for State Regulation of Family Mediators and Court Affiliated Programs as set forth in Rule 16 of the Supreme Court of Ohio Rules of Superintendence.


2.9 Mandatory Parenting Education Class

Order for Mandatory Parenting Education Class

Pursuant to O.R.C. 3109.053, in any action for divorce, dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or annulment in which there are any minor children of the marriage, the parties must successfully complete a court-approved parenting class.

Three class will satisfy the requirement: "Parenting Through Transitions" a 2 1/2 hour, in-person class; "Children in Between" an online class; and "Two Families Now" an online class.

The Court will issue and serve upon both parties an Order requiring both parties to register for, pay for, and complete one of the classes. The Order will include a registration form for the in-person class and information for the online classes. Parties who choose to use one of the online classes shall register with the online provider and follow the program’s instructions.

“Children In Between”: https://online.divorce-education.com/locale/ohio/hamilton

“Two Families Now”: http://www.twofamiliesnow.com/?affiliate=hamilton  

The classes provide an emphasis on recognizing and coping effectively with the negative effects that termination of marriage and legal separation have on children, while stressing to the parties the importance of communication and cooperation for the sake of their children.

Time Limits for Completion of the Class

For Plaintiffs in actions for divorce, legal separation and annulment, successful completion of the class must occur within forty-two days of the filing of the action. For Defendants in actions for divorce, legal separation and annulment, successful completion of the class must occur within forty-two days of completion of service of process. Both petitioners in actions for dissolution of marriage shall provide proof of attendance at the time of the filing of the petition for dissolution.

Registration and Payment of Cost for the Class

Each party will be responsible for his/her prompt registration and payment of the cost for the class.

Waiver of Class Attendance Requirement

The Court may waive attendance and successful completion of the class on a case-by-case basis for good cause shown. The age of the minor child(ren) will not be considered good cause for such waiver. All such request must be submitted to the Dispute Resolution Department.

Proof of Attendance

Upon attending and successfully completing a class, each participant shall receive a certificate of attendance and completion. Each participant is responsible for providing to the Court a copy of the certificate as proof of class attendance. Certification from the parenting education class is valid for two years. Parties must retake the class if certification has expired.

Failure to Attend

With regard to any party who has not successfully completed the class within the time limits set forth above, the Court may do, or may refuse to do, any of the following: 1) allocate or modify parental rights and responsibilities, pre or post decree; 2) grant shared parenting; 3) grant, modify and/or enforce parenting time; 4) in the case of a plaintiff or a counter claimant, dismiss the complaint or the counterclaim. In cases of willful failure to complete or delay in completing the class, the Court may also elect to take such other additional actions as it deems appropriate, including actions for contempt. Notwithstanding the foregoing, no action shall be delayed by the non-filing or non-moving party’s failure to complete the class.

Evaluation

Each participant in the class will be asked to complete an evaluation form regarding the class prior to receiving the certificate mentioned above.

Additional Education

When it appears to be in the best interests of the minor child(ren), the Court may order appropriate additional parenting education for either party.

2.10 Early Neutral Evaluation - Revised 12/14/2015

Definitions

“Early Neutral Evaluation” (ENE) is a court-ordered dispute resolution process in which the Early Neutral Evaluators provide an evaluation of the probable outcome of any parenting dispute.  ENE is not mediation.

“Early Neutral Evaluator” (Evaluator) means a court-appointed individual who conducts the ENE session and who meets all of the following qualifications:

  1. A minimum of twelve hours of basic mediation training;
  2. A minimum of forty hours of specialized family or divorce mediation training; 
  3. Fourteen hours of specialized training in domestic abuse issues provided by the Supreme Court of Ohio Dispute Resolution Section; and
  4. The Evaluators will not later be assigned to decide the pending action if the ENE process does not result in its resolution.

“ENE Communication” means a statement, whether oral, in a record, verbal or nonverbal, that occurs during an ENE session or is made for purposes of considering, conducting, participating in, initiating, continuing, or reconvening an ENE session.

 

Case Selection and Referral

ENE is an option for parties with parenting disputes.  The fee for ENE is $200.00, which is to be paid at the time of referral to the ENE program or within fourteen days.

The parties can request ENE through a motion to the Court. Also, the Court, on its own motion, may order parenting disputes to ENE in whole or in part, by completing an Entry Ordering ENE or Magistrate’s Order for ENE.  Once a case is referred for ENE, the Court will randomly assign two Evaluators and select a date, time, and location for the ENE session.  The Evaluators will consist of a Domestic Relations Social Worker/Counselor and a Magistrate. 

Participation

The ENE session will require the participation of each parent and their respective attorneys, if applicable. The child/ren may be interviewed at the discretion of the Evaluators. No other person will be permitted to participate without prior approval of the Court.

Scheduling Procedure

Upon approval of an Agreed Entry or issuance of an Entry Ordering ENE or Magistrate’s Order for ENE, all parties shall proceed directly to the Docket office to schedule the ENE session.  ENE sessions will be scheduled Monday through Friday, during court hours.  The sessions will be scheduled for 3 - 4 hours.   If additional sessions are necessary, they will be scheduled after the first ENE session.

 Pre-Session Procedure

One week prior to the ENE session, each attorney or self-represented parent is required to submit a Parenting Perspective Brief (DR 2.32).  One copy of the Brief is to be submitted to the Dispute Resolution Department, and one copy of the Brief is to be submitted to the other attorney or self-represented parent. The Brief must arrive at the Court and at the office of the opposing counsel (if applicable) or at the residence of the other parent (if self-represented), no later than the seventh day before the ENE session.  The Brief may be submitted by ordinary mail, hand-delivery, facsimile or e-mail.

The Evaluators will review the Briefs to gain a preliminary understanding of the concerns, interests and issues currently present within the family.  The Parenting Perspective Briefs will not be filed at the Clerk’s office nor placed in the Court’s family file.  The Court’s copies of the Briefs will be shredded upon completion of the ENE process. 

If an attorney or self-represented parent fails to timely submit the Parenting Perspective Brief, an additional fee of $50.00 may be assessed.  Additionally, if an attorney or self-represented parent fails entirely to submit the Parenting Perspective Brief, an additional fee of $100.00 may be assessed and the session will go forward as originally scheduled. 

Session Procedure

At the ENE session, the Evaluators will oversee the discussion to allow each parent and attorney the opportunity to be heard in an atmosphere of cooperation and respect.  The Evaluators will seek additional information from the parties, if necessary.  Once the information is gathered, the Evaluators will meet privately to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each parent’s position and to discuss probable outcomes for the parents.  The Evaluators will then present this feedback and options to all parties present at the session.  The parents will be given an opportunity to consult privately with their attorneys to review and discuss the Evaluators’ feedback.  The parties will reconvene and discuss results.  If the parents come to a full or partial agreement, the Evaluators will require the agreement be reduced to written form and submitted to the assigned Judge/Magistrate at a future date. 

Confidentiality

Early Neutral Evaluation communications are confidential.  

Exceptions to confidentiality include the following:

  1. Parties may share all ENE communications with their attorneys;
  2. Allegations of abuse or neglect of a child;
  3. Certain threats of harm to other people or oneself;
  4. Statements made during the ENE process to plan or to hide an ongoing crime;
  5. Statements made during the ENE process that reveal a felony.

 Privilege

An ENE communication is privileged and not subject to discovery or admissible as evidence in a judicial proceeding.   An Early Neutral Evaluator may not be deposed or subpoenaed to testify about any ENE communication unless an exception applies.

Exceptions to privilege include the following:

  1. The ENE communication is otherwise discoverable;
  2. The ENE communication is an imminent threat or statement of a plan to inflict bodily injury or commit a crime of violence;
  3. The ENE communication is intentionally used to plan, to attempt to commit, or to commit a crime or to conceal an ongoing crime or ongoing criminal activity;
  4. The ENE communication is required to be disclosed pursuant to Ohio Revised Code §2921.22.

Continuances

It is the policy of this Court to determine matters in a timely manner.  A motion seeking a continuance of a scheduled ENE will be required, with proper notice provided and pursuant to Local Rule 1.2.  A continuance of a scheduled ENE session shall be granted only for good cause shown. 

Sanctions

Any party or attorney who violates these rules may be subject to appropriate sanctions, including but not limited to, additional fees, forfeiture of paid ENE fee, contempt of court, attorney fees, or costs.

2.11 Parenting Coordination - New 01/01/2016

Definitions:
“Parenting coordination” is a court ordered child-focused dispute resolution process established to assist parties in implementing a parental rights and responsibilities order or companionship time order using assessment, education, case management, conflict management, coaching, or decision-making.

“Parenting coordination” is not mediation subject to R.C. Chapter 2710, R.C. 3109.052, or Sup.R. 16. 

“Parenting coordinator” means a court ordered individual who conducts parenting coordination. The parenting coordinator may work in the community or in-court.

Scope:
At any point after a parental rights and responsibilities order or companionship time order is filed, the Court may order parenting coordination except to determine the following:

(A)   Whether to grant, modify, or terminate a protection order;
(B)   The terms and conditions of a protection order;
(C)   The penalty for violation of a protection order;
(D)   Changes in the designation of the primary residential parent or legal guardian;
(E)   Changes in the primary placement of a child.

Appointment and Qualifications:

(A) Reasons for Ordering Parenting Coordination

The Court may order parenting coordination, sua sponte or upon written
motion by one or both parties, when one or more of the following factors are present:  

  1. The parties have ongoing disagreements about the implementation of a parental rights and responsibilities or companionship time order and need ongoing assistance;

  2. There is a history of extreme or ongoing parental conflict that has been unresolved by previous litigation or other interventions and from which the child/children of the parties is adversely affected;

  3. The parties have a child/children whose parenting time schedule requires frequent adjustments, specified in an Order of the Court, to maintain age-appropriate contact with both parties, and the parties have been previously unable to reach agreements on their parenting time schedule without Court intervention;

  4. The parties have a child/children with a medical or psychological condition or disability that requires frequent decisions regarding treatment or frequent adjustments in the parenting time schedule, specified in an Order of the Court, and the parties have been previously unable to reach agreements on their parenting time schedule without Court intervention;

  5. One or both parties suffer from a medical or psychological condition or disability that results in an inability to reach agreements on or make adjustments in their parenting time schedule without assistance, even  when minor in nature;

  6. Any other factor the Court determines. 

(B) Parenting Coordinator Qualifications

The Court shall appoint an individual as a parenting coordinator who meets all of
the following qualifications:

  1. A master’s degree or higher, a law degree, or education and experience satisfactory to the Court;

  2. At least two years of significant professional experience with situations involving children, which includes parenting coordination, counseling, casework, legal representation in family law matters, serving as a guardian ad litem or mediator, or such other equivalent experience satisfactory to the Court;

  3. Has completed the following training approved by the Dispute Resolution Section of the Supreme Court of Ohio:

    (a)   At least twelve hours of basic mediation training;
    (b)   At least forty hours of specialized family or divorce mediation training;
    (c)   At least fourteen hours of specialized training in domestic abuse        and dispute resolution;
    (d)   At least twelve hours of specialized training in parenting coordination;

  4. Community parenting coordinators must complete and submit the Application For The Parenting Coordinator Appointment List (DR 2.50) to the Director of the Dispute Resolution Department. The application shall be accompanied by a resume stating the applicant’s training, experience and expertise demonstrating compliance with this local rule and the applicant’s ability to successfully perform the duties and responsibilities of the parenting coordinator. The applicant’s Background Disclosure Statement (DR 2.51) and proof of malpractice insurance shall also be included;

  5. Community parenting coordinators must complete an orientation through the Court. Further, the Court may require an assigned mentor as deemed necessary;

  6. Continuing Education: To maintain eligibility for appointment, a parenting coordinator shall complete at least three hours per calendar year of continuing education relating to children that has been approved by the Supreme Court of Ohio;

  7. If the Court appoints a community parenting coordinator on a case for which the parenting coordinator was paid, the parenting coordinator must agree to accept at least one reduced fee assignment per year. If a parenting coordinator refuses the Court’s assignment of one reduced fee case a year, the Court may remove the parenting coordinator from the list of eligible parenting coordinators;

  8. Reporting and Review:

    1. A parenting coordinator shall provide an updated resume to the Director of the Dispute Resolution Department with any substantive changes and shall notify the Director of any changes to name, address, telephone number and, if available, electronic mail address contained in the resume;

    2. On or before January 1st of each year, a parenting coordinator shall certify that he/she is unaware of any circumstances that would disqualify him/her from serving and shall report to the Court a list of all continuing education training completed during the previous year pursuant to this local rule, including the sponsor, title, date, and location of each training. A parenting coordinator shall not be eligible for appointment until this requirement is satisfied. The parenting coordinator shall complete three hours of continuing education for each calendar year of deficiency;

    3. The Court shall conduct an annual review of each parenting coordinator’s qualifications each January and shall remove from the Court’s list those parenting coordinators who are no longer qualified.

(C)  Parenting Coordinator Appointment Order

The Court’s appointment order shall set forth all of the following:

  1. The name of the parenting coordinator and any contact information the Court may choose to include;
  2. The specific powers and duties of the parenting coordinator;
  3. The term of the appointment;
  4. The scope of confidentiality; 
  5. The parties’ responsibility for fees and expenses for services rendered by the parenting coordinator;
  6. Parenting coordination terms and conditions.

(D)  Selection of Parenting Coordinator for Appointment

The parenting coordinator who meets the qualifications in this local rule shall be
selected using one of the following:

  1. Court employee;
  2. Random selection from the Court’s roster of parenting coordinators;
  3. Specific appointment based on the type of case and the qualifications and caseload of the parenting coordinator;
  4. Parties select a parenting coordinator from the Court’s roster of parenting coordinators. 

If a party objects to the appointment of a particular parenting coordinator, the party shall file a motion supported with an affidavit that states the objections with specificity. The Court will conduct a hearing.

(E)  Prohibited Parenting Coordinator Appointments

The Court shall not appoint a parenting coordinator who does not possess the
qualifications in this local rule, or who has served or is serving in a role that creates a professional conflict including, but not limited to: a child’s attorney or child advocate; guardian ad litem; custody evaluator; therapist, consultant, coach, or other mental health role to any family member; mediator; or attorney for either party. 

Parties shall not waive this prohibition. 

(F)  Termination or Modification of Parenting Coordinator Appointment

Upon motion of a party, for good cause shown, or at the parenting coordinator’s request, or sua sponte, the Court may terminate or modify the parenting coordinator appointment. 

Parenting Coordinator Responsibilities:

(A)     Ability to perform duties 

A parenting coordinator shall report to the Court any activity, criminal or otherwise, that would adversely affect the parenting coordinator’s ability to perform the functions of a parenting coordinator.

(B)     Compliance with appointment order

A parenting coordinator shall comply with the requirements of and act in accordance with the appointment order issued by the Court.

(C)     Independence, objectivity, and impartiality

A parenting coordinator shall maintain independence, objectivity, and impartiality, including avoiding the appearance of partiality, in dealings with parties and professionals, both in and out of the courtroom.

(D)     Conflicts of interest 

    1. A parenting coordinator shall avoid any clear conflicts of interest arising from any relationship activity, including but not limited to those of employment or business or from professional or personal contacts with parties or others involved in the case.  A parenting coordinator shall avoid self-dealing or associations from which the parenting coordinator may benefit, directly or indirectly, except from services as a parenting coordinator.

    2. Upon becoming aware of a clear conflict of interest, a parenting coordinator shall advise the Court and the parties of the action taken to resolve the conflict and, if unable to do so, seek the direction of the Court.

(E)     Ex parte communications 

A parenting coordinator shall not have ex parte communications with the Court regarding substantive matters or issues on the merits of the case.

(F)     Legal advice 

A parenting coordinator shall not offer legal advice.

 

Parenting Coordination Procedures:

(A)   Screening for and disclosure of domestic abuse and domestic violence  

  1. The parenting coordinator shall screen all cases for domestic abuse and domestic violence before the commencement of the parenting coordination process and during the parenting coordination process.

  2. All parties and counsel shall immediately advise the parenting coordinator of any domestic violence convictions and/or allegations known to them or which become known to them during the parenting coordination process.

  3. When domestic abuse or domestic violence is alleged, suspected, or present, before proceeding, a parenting coordinator shall do each of the following:

    1. Fully inform the person who is or may be the victim of domestic abuse or domestic violence about the parenting coordination process and the option to have a support person present at parenting coordination sessions;

    2. Have procedures in place to provide for the safety of all persons involved in the parenting coordination process;

    3. Have procedures in place to terminate the parenting coordination session/process if there is a continued threat of domestic abuse, domestic violence, or coercion between the parties. 

(B)  Disclosure of abuse, neglect, and harm

A parenting coordinator shall inform the parties that the parenting coordinator shall report any suspected child abuse or neglect and any apparent serious risk of harm to a family member’s self, another family member, or a third party to child protective services, law enforcement, or other appropriate authority.  A parenting coordinator shall report child abuse or neglect pursuant to the procedures set forth in R.C. 2151.421. 

(C)  Attendance and participation  

  1. Parties shall contact and meet with the parenting coordinator within thirty (30) days of the appointment order. Parties shall attend parenting coordination sessions as requested by the parenting coordinator.  The parenting coordinator has the authority to approve or to disapprove any request to reschedule parenting coordination sessions.

  2. A parenting coordinator shall allow attendance and participation of the parties and, if the parties request, their attorneys and any other individuals the parties designate. A party shall notify the parenting coordinator at least one week before the session should a party want his/her attorney or other designated individual to attend.

  3. Parties shall notify the parenting coordinator and the Court of any changes to address, telephone number, and electronic mail address.

  4. The parenting coordinator may notify the Court of noncompliance and request that sanctions be levied against offending parties.

(D)   Referrals to support services 

A parenting coordinator may provide to the parties information regarding appropriate referrals to community resources, such as legal counsel, counseling, parenting courses or education.

The parenting coordinator shall provide necessary support services to the parties concerning victims and suspected victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence.

(E)  Parenting coordination agreements, reports, and decisions 

  1. Parties shall sign and abide by agreements reached during a parenting coordination session, which shall be maintained in the parenting coordinator’s file.  The parenting coordinator shall provide a copy to each party and their attorneys, if applicable.

  2. Every six months, unless otherwise determined by the Court, the parenting coordinator shall prepare a written report for a status conference with the assigned Judge or Magistrate, parties, and attorneys, if applicable. The report shall not be filed with the Clerk of Courts, but shall be available for inspection no less than seven days before the status conference. The report shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following:

    1.  Dates of parenting coordination sessions;

    2. Whether a parenting coordination session occurred or was terminated;

    3. Requests to reschedule a parenting coordination session, including the name of the requestor and whether the request was approved;

    4. Whether an agreement was reached on some, all, or none of the issues during a session;

    5. Who was in attendance at each session;

    6. The date and time of a future parenting coordination session;

    7. Whether any decisions were written and, if so, the dates.

  3. The parenting coordinator shall first attempt to assist the parties in reaching an agreement that resolves the dispute.  If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the parenting coordinator shall issue a written decision that is effective immediately and remains effective unless ordered otherwise by the Court.  The parenting coordinator shall provide copies to the parties and their attorneys, if applicable.  The decision shall be immediately filed with the Clerk of Court pursuant to the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 4 to 4.6. The decision shall include all of the following:
  1. Case caption, including the case number;
     
  2. Date of the decision;
     
  3. The decision of the parenting coordinator
     
  4. Facts of the dispute and facts upon which the decision is based;
     
  5. Reasons supporting the decision;
     
  6. The manner in which the decision was provided to the parties;
     
  7. Any other necessary information;
  1. A party may file written objections to a parenting coordinator’s decision with the Clerk of Court and serve all other parties to the action within fourteen days of the filing date of the decision.  If any party timely files objections, any other party may also file objections with the Clerk of Court and serve all other parties to the action, not later than ten days after the first objections are filed.  A hearing may be scheduled, upon request, at the discretion of the Court.  A judge or magistrate shall issue a ruling.

(F)  Parenting coordinator evaluations and complaints 

  1. A parenting coordinator shall provide participants with the Parenting Coordinator Evaluation (DR 2.52) prior to the first parenting coordination session and at the end of the term of the appointment.

  2. The Director of the Dispute Resolution Department shall complete a review of the parenting coordinators on the Court’s roster in January of each year.

  3. A party to a case appointed to parenting coordination may file a complaint regarding the parenting coordinator within one year from the termination of the appointment.  The complaint shall be submitted to the Director of the Dispute Resolution Department, and include all of the following:

    (a)        The case caption and case number;

    (b)        The name of the parenting coordinator;

    (c)        The name and contact information for the person making the complaint;

    (d)        The nature of any alleged misconduct or violation;

    (e)        The date the alleged misconduct or violation occurred.

  4. The Director of the Dispute Resolution Department shall provide a copy of the complaint to the parenting coordinator.

  5. The parenting coordinator has fourteen days from the date of the receipt of the complaint to respond in writing to the Director of the Dispute Resolution Department.

  6. The Director of the Dispute Resolution Department shall conduct an investigation into the allegations and shall issue a response within thirty days from the date the complaint was received.

  7. Dissatisfaction with the decisions of the parenting coordinator does not constitute misconduct.

 

(G)  Fees 

  1. Compensation shall be at the rate of one hundred and seventy-five dollars ($175.00) per hour for the billable time of an in-court parenting coordinator unless otherwise ordered by the Court. The Court shall determine all fees in the appointment order.

  2. Fees for the billable time of an in-court parenting coordinator may be waived for indigent parties with a verified Poverty Affidavit.

  3. The Court shall order the payment of a minimum deposit of one thousand, seven hundred fifty dollars ($1,750.00) with the Clerk of Courts, to be used to pay for in-court parenting coordination services. In-court parenting coordination services exceeding the initial deposit may require additional compensation. The Court, without oral hearing, upon filing of a motion and affidavit by the in-court parenting coordinator, may order subsequent deposit(s).

  4. In-court parenting coordinators shall submit a monthly billing statement to the parties and shall maintain a copy for review by the Court.

  5. Compensation for the billable time of a community parenting coordinator must be agreed upon by the community parenting coordinator and the parties. A community parenting coordinator must submit information regarding his/her fee structure to the Courtfor inclusion on the Court’s roster of parenting coordinators. 

 

(H)  Stay of Proceeding

Unless otherwise provided by court order, referral of a case to parenting coordination stays a case until further notice. The Clerk of Court shall not accept for filing any documents while a case is in parenting coordination with the following exceptions:

  1. An objection to a parenting coordinator’s decision;
  2. A motion to lift the stay;
  3. A response to a motion to lift the stay;
  4. An application to dismiss the case
  5. A notice related to counsel;
  6. A motion for changes in the designation of the primary residential parent or legal guardian;
  7. A motion for changes in the primary placement of a child;
  8. A motion regarding matters unrelated to the issues referred to the parenting coordinator.

 

(I)  Access to Court Proceedings and Documents

The parenting coordinator shall be given notice of all hearings and proceedings and shall be provided a copy of all pleadings, motions, notices and other documents filed in the case.

(J)  Release of Records

The parties shall allow the parenting coordinator access to any records that the parenting coordinator deems necessary to adequately perform his/her role. Upon request of the parenting coordinator, parties shall sign any and all necessary authorizations to release records and information to the parenting coordinator. 

Confidentiality and Privilege:
Except as provided by law, communications made as part of parenting coordination, including communications between the parties and their children and the parenting coordinator, communications between the parenting coordinator and other relevant parties, and communications with the Court, shall not be confidential.  Except as provided by law, parenting coordination shall not be privileged.

Public Access: 
The files maintained by a parenting coordinator, not filed with the Clerk of Court or submitted to the Court, shall not be available for public access pursuant to Rules 44 through 47 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio. 

Model Standards:
The Court and a parenting coordinator shall comply with the “Guidelines for Parenting Coordination” developed by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Task Force on Parenting Coordination.  Wherever a conflict exists between the “Guidelines for Parenting Coordination” and this rule, this rule shall control.

Court Reporting Requirements:
On or before February 1st of each year, the Court shall file with the Dispute Resolution Section of the Supreme Court of Ohio all of the following:

(A)       A copy of this rule;

(B)       A copy of the Court’s current roster of parenting coordinators;

(C)       A copy of each new or updated resume received by the Court from a parenting coordinator during the previous year;

(D)       A copy of each list of continuing education training received by the Court from each parenting coordinator.

Sanctions:
Any party who violates these rules may be subject to sanctions, including but not limited to, additional fees, forfeiture of paid fees, contempt of court, attorney fees, or costs. The parenting coordinator may recommend sanctions to the Court

 

Title III: Rule 75(N) Procedure

3.0 Motion and affidavit for temporary parenting orders, support, visitation, spousal support shall be filed in all cases pursuant to Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure 75(N)

75(N) Order packets are available on the Domestic Relations website and contain the following documents:

1. Motion and Affidavit for Temporary Order Without Oral Hearing (Form No. 3.2)

2. Affidavit of Income, Expenses and Financial Disclosure (Form No. 7.3)

3. Affidavit in Compliance with O.R.C.§3127.23 (Form No. 2.1)

4. Group Health Insurance Affidavit (Form No. 7.16)

5. Support Worksheets (Form No. 7.5A or 7.6A)

6. Data Form (CDR 4905)

7. Notice of Service Form (Form No. 3.4)

8. IV-D Application (ODHS 7076).

3.1 Mandatory Use

The 75(N) procedure must be used in conjunction with the filing of a complaint, answer and/or counterclaim, or other responsive pleading. At other times an amended pleading must be filed. Leave to amend to include 75(N) relief will be granted automatically by the Court with no action required by counsel to secure such permission provided that the 75(N) relief is the only additional relief requested.

COUNTER MOTION AND AFFIDAVIT - The opposing party shall have 14 days from the date of service within which to file a counter motion and the appropriate affidavits. The originals shall be filed with the Clerk of Courts in Room 03-47 AND a time-stamped copy delivered to the Docket Office in Room 03-46. Service shall be obtained upon the other party/counsel as required by law.

3.2 Temporary expenses

An allocation of temporary parental rights and responsibilities and support shall not be granted when the parties remain in the same household. In accordance with the request in the 75(N) order or upon motion and hearing, the Magistrate may order or recommend payment of household expenses.

3.3 Implementation

It is the responsibility of counsel to verify service on the opposing party. No order will be entered before 14 days have elapsed after completion of service. No sooner than 15 days after service, or upon filing of a Counter Affidavit, whichever occurs first, completed original Forms No. 3.4must be submitted to the Clerk of Courts office in Room 3-47 and, if support is required, form CDR 4905 must be submitted to the Docket Office in Room 03-46. Either party may submit the forms. Only the filing of these forms will activate the 75(N) Order. The assigned Magistrate will then make the appropriate order (without oral hearing) which will be mailed to the parties/counsel as necessary. The Court will establish the support account and process the Wage Withholding Order.

3.4 Motion for Specific Ongoing Expenses

In cases where the parties continue to reside together at the time of a hearing on a motion for custody and support pendente lite, the matter will be treated as a motion to determine and fix the payment of specific ongoing expenses, and no temporary custody or support order shall issue so long as the parties continue to cohabit.

Title IV: Scheduling and Pre-Trial Conference

4.0 Procedure

Scheduling conferences shall be set on property issues at the time of the filing of the complaint. In lieu thereof, counsel for the parties may submit, 14 days prior to the scheduled conference date, a Magistrate’s Order reflecting the general nature of issues to be litigated, stipulations of fact and status of discovery, with limitations on discovery as appropriate.

No asset or minimal asset cases may be adjudicated at the scheduling conference pursuant to the ordinary rules of procedure. Matters requiring additional preliminary review may be set for formal pre-trial at a later time.

Trial counsel for the parties shall be present at all scheduling conferences thereafter as deemed appropriate. Failure of counsel to appear at scheduling or other pre-trial conference may result in sanctions or dismissal as appropriate. In the event the parties are unable to agree as to discovery scope or time limitation, the Magistrate shall submit recommendations thereon in the form of a Decision or Order.

Title V: (Repealed)

(Repealed)

Title VI: Registration, Modifications and Enforcement of Foreign Support Order Pursuant to Uniform Interstate Family Support Act

6.0 Governing Law

All proceedings to register, modify and enforce a foreign support order, or to contest the validity, modification or enforcement of a foreign support order, shall be governed by, and shall proceed in accordance with, ORC Chapter 3115 (the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act), subject to the limits of jurisdiction outline in ORC § 2301.03(B)(2).

6.1 Procedure for Registration of Foreign Support Order

Pursuant to ORC § 3115.40, the filing of a certified copy of a foreign support order, and of copies of all the other documents and information enumerated in ORC § 3115.39, with the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts constitutes registration of the foreign support order. The aforementioned items shall first be submitted to the Domestic Relations Court Docket Office for review. Following this review, the party requesting registration shall file the order, documents and information with the Clerk of Courts' Domestic Relations Division office at 800 Broadway, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Title VII: Child Support Withholding Orders

7.0 Scope

The rules regarding Child Support Withholding Orders apply to all proceedings in the Court wherein the child(ren) is/are under the age of 18 or other dependent child(ren) of the parties.

7.1 Information Required - Amended 8-5-99

1. The date of birth of the obligor.
2. The social security number of the obligor
3. Order must be expressed in a monthly amount
4. Order must be "per child"
5. Order must be payable through the Child Support Enforcement Agency
6. The effective date
7. The order plus a 2% processing fee
8. Order must be accompanied by the following:

  1. The appropriate worksheet, i.e. residential parent or shared parenting (Form No. 7.5A) or split parental rights and responsibilities (Form No. 7.6A)

  2. HCDHS 4047 Notice to Income Provider and ODHS 4048 Addendum Withholding Notice OR an Unemployment Notice Order (Form No. 7.10)

  3. A Data Form (CDR 4905)

  4. A IV-D Application or copy thereof (Form ODHS 7076)

9. Mandated language:

  1. O.R.C.§3113.21(A): All child support and spousal support by this order shall be withheld or deducted from the wages or assets of the obligor under the order in accordance with Section 3113.21 of the Revised Code and shall be forwarded to the obligee under the order in accordance with Sections 3113.21 to 3113.214 of the Revised Code. The specific withholding or deduction requirements or other appropriate requirements to be used to collect the support be set forth in and determined by reference to the notices that are mailed by the Court or Child     Support Enforcement Agency in accordance with Divisions (A)(2) and (D) of     Section 3113.21 of the Revised Code or Court Orders that are issued and sent out in accordance with Division (D)(6), (D)(7), or (H) of Section 3113.21 of the Revised Code, and shall be determined without the need for any amendment to the support order. Those notices and court orders, plus the notices provided by the court or agency that require the person who is required to pay support to notify the Child Support Enforcement Agency of any changes in their employment status or any other change in the status of their assets, are final and enforceable by the Court.

  2. If termination of support: In entries involving the termination of support and  entries involving the reduction or elimination of a child support arrearage, the following statement shall be included: "No Federal or State Aid is involved and, if  there is Federal or State Aid involved, this entry shall not operate as a bar to any government agency collecting funds due".

7.2 Forms

Forms relevant to Child Support Withholding Orders are available in the Domestic Relations Docket Office (Room 03-46). Forms relevant to child support are:

Form No. Title

7.1 Waiver of Financial Disclosure Affidavit

7.2 Financial Disclosure Affidavit

7.3 Affidavit of Income, Expenses, and Financial Disclosure

7.5A Support Worksheet - Residential Parent or Shared Parenting

7.6A Support Worksheet - Split Parental Rights

7.10 Unemployment/Notice Order

7.14 Agreed Entry - Residential Parent

7.15 Agreed Entry - Shared Parenting

HCDHS 4047 Notice to Income Provider to Withhold Obligor Income/ Assets

CDR 4905 Data Form 

 

Title VIII: Magistrate's Proceeding (Effective 11/01/2011)

8.0 Court's Action on Magistrate's Decisions

The Court’s action regarding magistrate’s decisions shall be governed by Civil Rule 53(D)(4).

8.1 Objections to the Magistrate's Decision

    1. Form. An objection to the magistrate’s decision pursuant to Civil Rule 53 shall be in writing and filed with the Clerk.

    2. Content. Objections shall be specific and state with particularity the grounds for objection. Any objection to a finding of fact within the magistrate’s decision shall be supported by a transcript of all the evidence submitted to the magistrate relevant to that fact.

    3. Time. A timely objection to a magistrate’s decision is filed within fourteen days of the date the magistrate’s decision is filed. If any party timely files objections, any other party may also file objections no later than ten days after the first objections are filed. If a party makes a request for findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Civil Rule 52, the time for filing objections begins to run when the magistrate files an amended decision including findings of fact and conclusions of law. Written objections shall first be submitted to the Domestic Relations Docket Office (Room 3-46) and then filed at the Clerk of Courts Office (800 Broadway, 3rd floor).

    4. Hearing on Objections – Upon request by either party, at the time of filing or within ten days thereafter, the Court may schedule a hearing that shall be limited to fifteen minutes, per side, unless otherwise ordered by the Court. Every effort must be made to coordinate the hearing date with opposing party or counsel. The Court may sua sponte determine that a hearing is unnecessary and will send a notice to the parties if a hearing is cancelled for that reason.

    5. Service of Objections. A copy of the objections shall be served on opposing counsel, the opposing party, or other interested parties, as appropriate.  The notice shall include the date, time and room number for any scheduled hearing on the objections. 

    6. Supplemental Objections. If a transcript of the proceeding has been timely ordered, a party may supplement the objections with leave of court in accordance with Civil Rule 53(D)(3)(b)(iii).

    7. Transcript Request ProcedureIf a transcript is requested pursuant to Civil Rule 53, the objection shall state that a full or partial transcript has been ordered. The objecting party shall complete a Request for Transcription (DR Form 8.30) and present the form to the assigned Judge's Staff on the same day as the filing of objections. Failure to do so may cause the Court to rule on the objections as if no transcript has been ordered. The party filing an objection has an affirmative duty to ensure that the transcript is prepared and delivered to the Court, by having the transcript filed with the Clerk of Courts or causing the transcript to be filed with the Clerk of Courts. Transcripts not received within thirty days from the filing of objections will not be considered, unless an extension of time to file the transcript has been requested in writing and granted in writing.

    8. Payment of Transcript Costs. Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the party ordering the transcript shall be responsible for the fees associated with the securing of the transcript. 

8.2 Motion to Set Aside Magistrate's Orders

  1. Form. A motion to set aside the order of a magistrate pursuant to Civil Rule 53 shall be in writing and filed with the Clerk.

  2. Content. The motion shall be specific and state with particularity the grounds for setting aside the pretrial order.  Any motion contesting a finding of fact within the order shall be supported by a transcript of all the evidence submitted to the magistrate relevant to that fact.

  3. Time. A timely motion to set aside a magistrate’s order is filed within ten days of the filing of the magistrate’s order. The motion shall first be submitted to the Domestic Relations Docket Office (Room 3-46) before filing at the Clerk of Courts Office (800 Broadway, 3rd floor). 

  4. Hearing on Motion to Set Aside Order. Upon request by either party, at the time of filing or within ten days thereafter, the Court may schedule a hearing that shall be limited to fifteen minutes, per side, unless otherwise ordered by the Court. Every effort must be made to coordinate the hearing date with opposing party or counsel. The Court may sua sponte determine that a hearing is unnecessary and will send a notice to the parties if a hearing is cancelled for that reason.

  5. Service of Motion to Set Aside Order. A copy of the motion shall be served on opposing counsel, the opposing party, or other interested parties, as appropriate.  The notice shall include the date, time and room number for any scheduled hearing on the motion. 

  6. Transcript Request Procedure. If a transcript is requested pursuant to Civil Rule 53, the motion shall state that a full or partial transcript has been ordered. The party shall complete a Request for Transcription (DR Form 8.30) and present the form to the assigned Judge's Staff on the same day as the filing of the motion to set aside. Failure to do so may cause the Court to rule on the motion as if no transcript has been ordered. The party filing the motion has an affirmative duty to ensure that the transcript is prepared and delivered to the Court, by having the transcript filed with the Clerk of Courts or causing the transcript to be filed with the Clerk of Courts. Transcripts not received within thirty days from the filing of the motion to set aside will not be considered, unless an extension of time to file the transcript has been requested in writing and granted in writing. 

  7. Payment of Transcript Costs. Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the party ordering the transcript shall be responsible for the fees associated with the securing of the transcript. 

8.3 Request for Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Laws

A request for findings of fact and conclusions of law must be filed within seven days of the date of the filing of the magistrate's decision pursuant to Civil Rule 53(D)(3)(a)(ii).  Upon the filing of a request for findings of fact and conclusions of law, the time for filing objections is automatically stayed.  Objections may then be filed within fourteen days of the date of the filing of the amended magistrate’s decision with findings of fact and conclusions of law. 

8.4 Record of Proceedings

 

A digital recording will be made of hearings before a judge or magistrate.  A copy of the digital recording is available upon request and receipt of payment.  Prior hearings that were audio-electronically recorded may be available if a Tape Preservation Request form was filed with the court within thirty days of the filing of the Magistrate's Decision or Order

 

Title IX: Merit Hearings

9.0 Hearing Date

A final merits hearing will not be scheduled until all issues concerning property division, allocation of parental rights and responsibilities and support have been resolved either by agreement or by court order. A Request for Merit Setting entry (Form 9.1) must be filed with the Domestic Relations Docket Office (Room 03-46) prior to the date being set for the final merits hearing.

9.1 Decree - Amended 11-21-96

Counsel shall have prepared a decree of divorce or dissolution together with all necessary forms; withholding order, medical forms and support worksheets. Said decree shall be "costed out" with the Clerk of Courts before the final merits hearing then filed with the decree specialist.

9.2 Entry of Dismissal for Divorce, Legal Seperation, Annulment or Other Final Entry

In cases where defendant is not represented by counsel, plaintiff must serve a copy of an Entry of  Dismissal for Divorce, Legal Separation, Annulment or other final entry on defendant by regular  mail addressed to defendant’s last known address.

Title X: Guardians Ad Litem

10.0 Applicability

   This rule shall apply in all domestic relations cases where the court appoints a guardian ad litem to protect and act in the best interest of a child

10.1 Definitions

For purposes of this rule:

  1. “Guardian ad litem” means an individual appointed to assist a court in its determination of a child’s best interest.

  2. “Child means:

  1. A person under eighteen years of age, or

  2. A person who is older than eighteen years of age who is deemed a child until the person attains twenty-one years of age under section 2151.011(B)(5) or section 2152.02(C) of the Ohio Revised Code.

  3. A child under O.R.C. 3109.04 or a disabled child under O.R.C. 3119.86 who falls under the  jurisdiction of a domestic relations court or of a juvenile court with a paternity docket.  

10.2 Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem

Upon motion of the court or either party, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to protect the best interest of the child and shall appoint a guardian when required under O.R.C. 3109.04(B)(2)(a).

A.  Qualifications

  1. The guardian ad litem shall be an attorney admitted to practice in Ohio who is a member in good standing of the Ohio Bar.

  2. At least fifty percent (50%) of the attorney’s practice during the last two years shall be in the area(s) of domestic relations and/or juvenile law.

  3. The attorney must successfully complete a minimum of six hours of pre-service training.  The pre-service training course must be the six hour guardian ad litem pre-service course provided by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

  4. Thereafter, the attorney must successfully complete three hours of specific training per year for continued appointment.  The three hour continuing education course must be provided by the Supreme Court of Ohio.

  5. Upon completion of the required pre-service training, an attorney seeking to serve as a guardian ad litem shall submit to the court the Application For The Guardian Ad Litem Appointment List (Form DR 10.1).  The application shall be accompanied by a resume stating the applicant’s training, experience and expertise demonstrating the applicant’s ability to successfully perform the duties and responsibilities of the guardian ad litem, a copy of the applicant’s criminal background check, the applicant’s Background Disclosure Statement (Form DR 10.1A) and proof of malpractice insurance. 

  6. The guarding ad litem must certify annually that they are unaware of any circumstances that would disqualify them from serving and to report the training they have attended to comply with section A (4) of this rule.

  7. If the court appoints a guardian ad litem on a case for which the guardian ad litem was paid, the guardian must agree to accept at least one pro bono assignment per year.  If a guardian ad litem refuses the court’s assignment of one pro bono case a year, the court may remove the attorney from the list of eligible guardians ad litem.

10.3 Procedure of Appointment

The court shall appoint guardians ad litem from a public list of eligible candidates (preserving individual privacy) as maintained by the court so that the workload is equitably distributed among the eligible candidates.

If a party to the case objects to the appointment of a particular guardian ad litem, the party shall file a motion supported by affidavit that states the objection with specificity.  The court will conduct a hearing.

Whenever feasible, the same guardian ad litem shall be reappointed for a specific child in any subsequent case in any court relating to the best interest of the child.

10.4 Order of Appointment

In appointing a guardian ad litem under Rule 48 of the Ohio Rules of Superintendence, the Domestic Relations Court shall enter an Order of Appointment (DR 10.5) that shall include:

(1)  A statement regarding whether a person is being appointed as a guardian ad litem only or as a guardian ad litem and attorney for the child.

(2)  A statement that the appointment shall remain in effect until discharged by order of the court, by the court filing a final order in the case or by court rule.

(3)  A statement that the guardian ad litem shall be given notice of all hearings and proceedings and shall be provided a copy of all pleadings, motions, notices and other documents filed in the case.

(4)  Provisions for fees and expenses.

10.5 Fees and Payments (Revised 03/25/2015)

  1. Compensation shall be at the rate of one hundred and seventy-five dollars ($175.00) per hour for both in-court and out-of-court billable time unless otherwise agreed.

  2. The Court may order the payment of a minimum deposit of One Thousand, Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars ($1,750.00) with the Clerk of Courts, to be used to pay for guardian ad litem services. Guardian ad litem services exceeding the initial deposit may require additional compensation. The Court, without oral hearing, upon filing of a motion and affidavit by the guardian ad litem, may order subsequent deposit(s).

  3. Guardians ad litem shall submit monthly billing to counsel and/or pro se litigants.  No sooner than fifteen (15) days of the service of the monthly billing, the guardian ad litem shall submit an entry (DR 10.7) for the release of funds for payment for the bill sent by the guardian ad litem unless there is a motion in opposition filed by either party.  The entry submitted by the guardian ad litem shall state the date on which the bill was served and the entry shall be signed by the guardian ad litem accordingly.

10.6 Annual Review of Guardians Ad Litem

The court will review its list of guardians ad litem annually to determine that all persons on the list are in compliance with the training and education requirements of the Ohio Supreme Court.  The court will also conduct an annual review of the performance of each guardian ad litem on assigned cases during the preceding calendar year.

10.7 Responsibilities of the Court

In order to ensure that only qualified individuals perform the duties of guardians ad litem and that the requirements of Rule 48 of the Ohio Rules of Superintendence are met, the following shall apply:

  1. The Guardian Ad Litem Coordinator shall coordinate the application and appointment process for guardians ad litem.

  2. The Guardian Ad Litem Coordinator shall maintain files for all applicants and for individuals approved for appointment as guardians ad litem with the court.  The files shall contain all records and information required by Rule 48 of the Ohio Rules of Superintendence, and by these local rules, for the selection and service of guardians ad litem including a certificate or other satisfactory proof of compliance with training requirements.

  3. The court shall conduct, or cause to be conducted, a criminal and civil background check and investigation of information relevant to the applicant’s fitness to serve as a guardian ad litem.

  4. The court shall require all individuals on the guardian ad litem list to certify annually that they are unaware of any circumstances that would disqualify them from serving as a guardian ad litem and shall report the training they have attended to comply with section 10.2 A(3) and (4) of this rule.

  5. The Court Administrator shall accept and consider written comments and complaints regarding the performance of guardians ad litem practicing before the court.  A copy of comments and complaints submitted to the Court Administrator shall be provided to the guardian ad   litem who is the subject of the complaint or comment.  The Court Administrator may forward any comments and complaints to the Administrative Judge for consideration and appropriate action. Dispositions by the court shall be made promptly.  The court shall maintain a written record in the guardian ad litem’s file regarding the nature and disposition of any comment or complaint and shall notify the person making the comment or complaint and the subject guardian ad litem of the disposition.

10.8 Reports of Guardians Ad Litem

A guardian ad litem shall prepare a written final report, including recommendations to the court, within the times set forth in this division.  The report shall detail the activities performed, hearings attended, persons interviewed, documents reviewed, experts consulted and all other relevant information considered by the guardian ad litem in reaching the guardian ad litem’s recommendations and in accomplishing the duties required by statute, by court rule, and in the court’s Order of Appointment (DR 10.5).

In domestic relations proceedings involving the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, the final report shall be submitted to the court and made available to the parties for inspection no less than seven days before the final hearing unless the due date is extended by the court.  Written reports may be accessed in person or by phone by the parties or their legal representatives.  A copy of the final report shall be provided to the court at the hearing.  The court shall consider the recommendation of the guardian ad litem in determining the best interest of the child only when the report or a portion of the report has been admitted as an exhibit.

Unless otherwise agreed by the parties and approved by the court, the report of the guardian ad litem shall not be entered into direct evidence absent testimony by the guardian ad litem.  The parties may cross-examine the guardian ad litem concerning the contents of the report and the basis for the guardian ad litem’s recommendations.  The report of the guardian shall not be filed with the Clerk of Courts.

10.9 Responsibilities of a Guardian Ad Litem

In order to provide the court with relevant information and an informed recommendation regarding the child’s best interest, a guardian ad litem shall perform, at a minimum, the responsibilities stated in this division, unless impracticable or inadvisable to do so.

  1. A guardian ad litem shall represent the best interest of the child for whom the guardian is appointed.  Representation of best interest may be inconsistent with the wishes of the child whose interest the guardian ad litem represents.

  2. A guardian ad litem shall maintain independence, objectivity and fairness as well as the appearance of fairness in dealings with parties and professionals, both in and out of the courtroom and shall have no ex parte communications with the court regarding the merits of the case.

  3. A guardian ad litem is an officer of the court and shall act with respect and courtesy to the parties at all times.

  4. A guardian ad litem shall appear and participate in any hearing for which the duties of a guardian ad litem or any issues substantially within a guardian ad litem’s duties and scope of appointment are to be addressed.

  5. A guardian ad litem who is an attorney may file pleadings, motions and other documents as appropriate under the applicable rules of procedure.

  6. When a court appoints an attorney to serve as both the guardian ad litem and attorney for a child, the attorney shall advocate for the child’s best interest and the child’s wishes in accord with the Rules of Professional Conduct.  Attorneys who are to serve as both guardian ad litem and attorney should be aware of Rule 3.7 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and act accordingly.

  7. When a guardian ad litem determines that a conflict exists between the child’s best interest and the child’s wishes, the guardian ad litem shall, at the earliest practical time, request in writing that the court promptly resolve the conflict by entering appropriate orders.

  8. A guardian ad litem shall avoid any actual or apparent conflict of interest arising from any relationship or activity including, but not limited to, those of employment or business or from professional or personal contacts with parties or others involved in the case.  A guardian ad litem shall avoid self-dealing or associations from which the guardian ad litem might benefit, directly or indirectly, except for compensation for services as a guardian ad litem. 

  9. Upon becoming aware of any actual or apparent conflict of interest, a guardian ad litem shall immediately take action to resolve the conflict, shall advise the court and the parties of the action taken and may resign from the matter with leave of court, or seek court direction as necessary.  Because a conflict of interest may arise at any time, a guardian ad litem has an ongoing duty to comply with this division.

  10. Unless expected by statute, by court rule consistent with this rule, or by order of court pursuant to this rule, a guardian ad litem shall meet the qualifications and satisfy all training and continuing education      requirements under this rule and under any local court rules governing guardians ad litem.  A guardian ad litem shall meet the qualifications for guardians ad litem for each county where the guardian ad litem serves and shall promptly advise each court of any grounds for disqualification or unavailability to serve. 

  11. A guardian ad litem shall be responsible for providing the court or its designee with a statement indicating compliance with all initial and continuing educational and training requirements so the court may maintain the files required in section 10.7 (2) of this rule.  The compliance statement shall include information detailing the date, location, contents and credit hours received for any relevant training course.

  12. A guardian ad litem shall make reasonable efforts to become informed about the facts of the case and to contact all parties.  In order to provide the court with relevant information and an informed recommendation as to the child’s best interest, a guardian ad litem shall, at a minimum, do the following, unless impracticable or inadvisable because of the age of the child or the specific circumstances of a particular case:

    (a)  Meet with and interview the child and observe the child with each parent, foster parent, guardian or physical custodian and conduct at least one interview with the child where none of these individuals is present;

    (b)  Visit the child at his or her residence in accordance with any standards established by the court in which the guardian ad litem is appointed;

    (c ) Ascertain the wishes of the child;

    (d)  Meet with and interview the parties, foster parents and other significant individuals who may have relevant knowledge regarding the issues of the case;

    (e)  Review pleadings and other relevant court documents in the case in which the guardian ad litem is appointed;

    (f)  Review criminal, civil, educational and administrative records pertaining to the child and, if appropriate, to the child’s family or to other parties in the case;

    (g)  Interview school personnel, medical and mental health providers, child protective services workers and relevant court personnel and obtain copies of relevant records;

    (h)  Recommend that the court order psychological evaluations, mental health and/or substance abuse assessments, or other evaluations or tests of the parties as the guardian ad litem deems necessary or helpful to the court; and

    (i)  Perform any other investigation necessary to make an informed recommendation regarding the best interest of the child.

  13. A guardian ad litem shall immediately identify himself or herself as a guardian ad litem when contacting individuals in the course of a particular case and shall inform these individuals about the guardian ad litem’s role and that documents and information obtained may become part of court proceedings.

  14. As an officer of the court, a guardian ad litem shall make no disclosures about the case or the investigation except in reports to the court or as necessary to perform the duties of a guardian ad litem.  A guardian ad litem shall maintain the confidential nature of personal identifiers, as defined in Rule 44 of the Ohio Rules of Superintendence, or addresses where there are allegations of domestic violence or risk to a party’s or child’s safety.  A guardian ad litem may recommend that the court restrict access to the report or a portion of the report, after trial, to   preserve the privacy, confidentiality, or safety of the parties or the person for whom the guardian ad litem was appointed in accordance with Rule 45 of the Ohio Rules of Superintendence.  The court may, upon application, and under such conditions as may be necessary to protect the witnesses from potential harm, order disclosure of or access to the information that addresses the need to challenge the truth of the information received from the confidential source.

  15. A guardian ad litem shall perform responsibilities in a prompt and timely manner, and, if necessary, an attorney guardian ad litem may request timely court reviews and judicial intervention in writing with notice to parties or affected agencies.

  16. A guardian ad litem who is to be paid by the court or a party, shall keep accurate records of the time spent, services rendered, and expenses incurred in each case and file an itemized statement and accounting with the court and provide a copy to each party or other entity responsible for payment.

Forms - Guardian Ad Litem

Forms relevant to Guardians Ad Litem are listed below. Hard copies are also available in the Domestic Relations Docket Office (Room 3-46).

 

Form No. Title

Form 10.1 Application for the Guardian Ad Litem Appointment List

Form 10.1A Background Disclosure Statement for GAL Appointment List

Form 10.5 Order Appointing Guardian Ad Litem

Form 10.7 Order for Payment of Guardian Ad Litem Fees

Form 10.8 Annual Guardian Ad Litem Compliance Statement

 

Title XI: Real Estate Appraisal

11.0 Court Appointment of Real Estate Appraisers - Amended 9-1-06

The Court has established a panel of qualified real estate appraisers. Their service can be obtained through the Docket Office (Room 03-46). An appointee will be paid $300.00 for appraising a single family residence. The appraisal of a two-family is $400.00. The cost for appraising other structures will be determined by the appraiser. An additional cost of $50.00 per hour for time entailed in a deposition and $200.00 for each Court appearance, will also be paid. Such fees will be paid to the Clerk of Courts prior to the appointment of the appraiser.

Title XII: Soldiers' and Sailors' Relief Act

12.0 Soldiers' and Sailors' Relief Act

In any action or proceeding commenced in this Court governed by Solders’ and Sailors’ Relief Act of 1940, 50 USC 501, et. Seq. As amended, the Court may appoint an attorney to represent the defendant and protect his/her interest, and may set a fee.

12.1 Service of Summons on Military Personnel

  1. Obtain a waiver of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Relief Act from the Veterans Service Commission at 230 E. Ninth St.,Rm 1100. Send same to the person sought to be served together with a cover letter explaining the waiver and requesting signature.

  2. When a party sought to be served fails or refuses to sign and return the waiver, file a motion with the Court requesting that an attorney be appointed by the Court to represent the party in the service. Upon appointment, the attorney appointed shall contact his/her client and proceed on whatever basis is thereby arranged.

Title XIII: Body Attachments

13.0 Body Attachments

When the Judge orders a body attachment to be issued, the attorney for the moving party shall prepare the Entry Ordering Body Attachment (Form No. 13.8), the pink Warrant Information sheet (Form No. 13.9) and the Warrant (available in the Clerk of Courts Office (Room 03-47). The original Entry Ordering Body Attachment is filed with the Clerk of Courts (Room 03-47). The original Warrant, the pink Warrant Information sheet and a copy of the Entry Ordering Body Attachment is to be submitted to the Sheriff’s Special Warrant Unit (located at 800 Broadway) for processing.

Title XIV: Witnesses

14.0 Witnesses

Witnesses with subpoenas may have the hearing officer sign the subpoena for verification. The witness may then take the subpoena to the Clerk of Courts for payment.

Title XV: Communications with Judges and Magistrates

15.0 Ex-Parte Communications

No attorney shall discuss the merits, either orally or in writing, of any litigation with any Judge or Magistrate presiding over the matter until final disposition thereof without the presence of opposing counsel or the party, if not represented.

15.1 Attorney Conferences

If it is determined that an issue in a pending action needs to be discussed with a Judge or Magistrate prior to hearing or disposition of the action, the party so desiring may request a conference with the Judge or Magistrate.

Title XVI: Withdrawal of Attorney - Amended 7/06/2009

16.0 Agreed Withdrawal

An attorney seeking to withdraw as counsel in a pending case shall present a filed motion and a proposed entry to the assigned judge or magistrate.  The motion and proposed entry shall be served on all parties in accordance with the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure.                              

The motion and proposed entry shall contain the following:

    1. Date and time of any scheduled hearings and all deadlines previously established by the Court;
    2. Reasons for withdrawal;
    3. Statement that the client has been advised to promptly obtain new counsel;
    4. Statement that a continuance of any pending hearings must be specifically and/or separately requested and will not automatically be granted solely for the reason of change of counsel;
    5. Signature of the client on the proposed entry indicating agreement with the motion seeking the Court’s permission to withdraw; and
    6. Address of the client whose attorney is withdrawing.

     

     

    B.  Court’s Response

    The Court may grant the motion without a hearing.  The Court will promptly notify counsel if a hearing is to be scheduled.  Once the judge or magistrate has ruled upon the motion, the Court will send a copy of the Entry to all attorneys and the client who requested the filing of the motion.

    C.  Oral Motion

    The Court may entertain an oral motion to withdraw if counsel who is requesting to withdraw and the client are present.  Absent an extraordinary circumstance the Court will not entertain such an oral motion.

    An extraordinary circumstance includes, but is not limited to, a client discharging counsel.

    16.1 Withdrawal Absent Agreement

    1. Filing Requirements

      The attorney seeking to withdraw as counsel in a pending case, who does not have the agreement of the client, must present the motion to the Docket Office and secure a hearing date and time before the assigned judge or magistrate. 

      The motion must contain all of the requirements listed in 16.0(a), with the exception of # 5.  The motion must be served upon all parties in accordance with the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure.  The attorney seeking to withdraw shall request service of the motion on the client through the Clerk of Court’s office by certified mail, return receipt requested, or personal service via a sheriff or process server.  The motion shall include the time and date of the hearing, the assigned judge or magistrate’s name, the courtroom number and address of the courthouse.

       

    2. Court’s Response

      The Court shall conduct a hearing and determine whether to grant the motion. If the motion is granted and the client failed to appear at the hearing, the attorney seeking to withdraw shall notify the client by certified mail, return receipt requested, that the motion was granted and that the client must notify the court of new trial counsel within such time as the court may designate.  A copy of such notice, along with a copy of the entry granting the withdrawal and a copy of the certified mail receipt shall be filed and docketed at the Clerk of Courts. A courtesy copy shall also be provided to the Docket Office.

    16.2 Time Limitations

      1. In the absence of an extraordinary circumstance, the court will not grant an attorney permission to withdraw less than 30 days prior to a scheduled hearing.

      2. An attorney may not withdraw prior to completion and submission to the court of any pending entries, resulting from prior court rulings.

      3. An extraordinary circumstance includes, but is not limited to, a client discharging counsel.

    16.3 New Counsel of Record

    Where new counsel is substituted for an attorney of record, a Notice Substituting New Counsel, signed by the withdrawing counsel and the substituting counsel shall be filed with the Clerk of Courts. A copy shall be left with the Docket Office and served upon opposing counsel or the opposing party if the opposing party is unrepresented.

    Title XVII: Motion for Attorney Fees

    17.0 Procedure/Motion

    A motion for attorney fees shall be included in the body of the motion or other pleading that gives rise to the request for fees. No oral motion for fees shall be entertained unless good cause is shown that the provisions of this rule could not be observed.

    17.1 Evidence in Support of Motion

    At the time of the final hearing on the request for attorney fees, the attorney seeking such fees shall present:

    1. An itemized statement describing the services rendered, the time for such services, and the requested hourly rate for in-court time and out-of-court time.

    2. Testimony as to whether the case was complicated by any or all of the following:

      1. New or unique issues of law.

      2. Difficulty in ascertaining or valuing the parties assets.

      3. Problems with completing discovery.

      4. Any other factor necessitating extra time being spent on the case.

    3. Testimony regarding the attorney’s years in practice and experience in domestic relations cases.

    4. Evidence of the parties’ respective income and expenses, if not otherwise disclosed during the proceedings.

    5. Failure to comply with the provisions of this rule shall result in the denial of a request for attorney fees, unless jurisdiction to determine the issue of fees is expressly reserved in any order resulting from the hearing.

    Title XVIII: Motion to Vacate Premises

    18.0 Motion

    A motion to vacate premises shall state with specificity the reasons for the motion and shall be supported by an affidavit of the moving party setting forth the facts on which the motion is based.

    18.1 Ex-Parte Orders

    No motion to vacate premises shall be granted ex-parte.

    18.2 When Granted

    A motion to vacate premises may be granted if the movant establishes that the opposing party:

    1. Attempted to cause or recklessly caused bodily injury by acts of physical violence.

    2. Place a party, by threat of force, in fear of imminent serious physical harm.

    3. Committed any act with respect to a child that would result in the child being an abused child as defined in ORC 2151.031.

    4. Engaged in conduct which causes or is likely to cause emotional and/or mental stress to the spouse and/or minor children of the parties.

    5. Engaged in conduct which creates or is likely to create an environment which significantly endangers the spouse’s and/or minor children’s physical health or mental, or moral or emotional development.

    6. Engaged in conduct abusive to the spouse and/or minor children whether by physical or verbal acts.

    Title XIX: Temporary Restraining Orders (Effective 9/01/2011)

    19.0 Issuance of Administrative Order and Additional Orders

    At the time of the filing of an action for divorce,  legal separation, or annulment an Administrative Temporary Restraining Order will be issued. Plaintiff shall be deemed served with the Administrative Temporary Restraining Order upon filing the complaint.  The Administrative Temporary Restraining Order shall be served on the Defendant with the summons.  A request for additional restraining orders in comportment with Civ. R. 75(I) may be made by the filing of a motion and an affidavit of a party.  Any request under this Rule may be set for hearing at the discretion of the assigned judge.

    19.1 Dissolving Order

    A party against whom an Administrative Temporary Restraining Order or other ex-parte restraining order has been granted may file a motion, supported by affidavit, requesting that such order be dissolved.  If the motion seeks a partial dissolution of a restraining order on a bank account for purposes of satisfying outstanding obligations, such motion may be granted ex-parte at the discretion of the assigned Judge.  All other motions to dissolve restraining orders shall be set for hearing before the assigned Judge.

    Title XX: Exhibits - Amended 9/01/2014

    20.0 Trial Exhibits

    (A) Prior to commencement of any pre or post-decree evidentiary hearing, each party shall provide the Court with the following:
    (1) A completed CDR Exhibit List (Form No. 20.0); and (2) An original and one set of photocopies of all exhibits, pre-marked, with plaintiff identifying exhibits by numbers, defendant identifying exhibits by letters and CSEA identifying exhibits using roman numerals.  The parties shall provide all copies and exhibits labels.  Access to Domestic Relations Court copy machines will not be provided to allow compliance with this rule.

    Additionally,

    (B) A completed CDR Exhibit List (Form No. 20.0) and one set of photocopies of all exhibits, pre-marked shall be exchanged between the parties in advance of the evidentiary hearing.  At the court's discretion, a more definite date may be established for the exchange of exhibits.

          
    (C) Upon its own motion or that of any aggrieved party, the Court may impose appropriate sanctions for a violation of this rule, including, but not limited to, an award of attorney fees and/or expenses incurred by an aggrieved party and/or the denial of a request to move into evidence exhibits offered by the offending party.

    20.1 Retention/Destruction of Exhibits

    Exhibits shall be held and subject to destruction in accordance with Rule 26 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio.  Parties desiring the return of their exhibits should make application to the Court upon completion of the case and the expiration of all applicable time periods for direct appeal.

    Title XXI: Case Management Plan - Amended 2/01/2009

    21.0 Case Management Plan

                To ensure the readiness of cases and their timely disposition, all cases shall be assigned to the appropriate case track as set forth below.  The time frames are meant to be outside limits and the parties or the Court may accelerate the schedule as necessary. 

    A.         Case Definition and Track Assignment

    Track

    Track Definition

    Length in Weeks

    Length in Months

    Track A

    Divorce, Legal Separation or Annulment with Children

    78 Weeks

    18 Months

    Track B

    Divorce , Legal Separation or Annulment without Children

    52 Weeks

    12 Months

    Track C

    Dissolution with Children

    12 Weeks

    3 Months

    Track D

    Dissolution without Children

    12 Weeks

    3 Months

    Track E

    Custody

    36 Weeks

    9 Months

    Track F

    Parenting Time

    36 Weeks

    9 Months

    Track G

    Support

    52 Weeks

    12 Months

    Track H

    Domestic Violence

    4 Weeks

    1 Month

    Track I

    UIFSA

    12 Weeks

    3 Months

    Track J

    Parentage

    52 Weeks

    12 Months

    Track K

    All Others

    26 Weeks

    6 Months

     

     

    B.         Track SchedulesTrack ADivorce, Legal Separation or Annulment  with Children 
                       (Pre-Decree)                                      78 Weeks                                           (18 Months)


    Milestone Description

    Number of Weeks Per Activity

    Week of Completion

     

     

     

    Service Completed

    00

    00

    Scheduling Conference *

    12

    12

    Custody Pre-Trial/Conference

    16

    28

    Custody Trial

    12

    40

    Property Pre-Trial/Conference

    06

    46

    Property Trial

    12

    58

    Decision

    04

    62

    Order

    12

    74

    Merits

    02

    76

    Final Decree

    02

    78

    TOTAL

    78

    78

     

     

     

    * Early Intervention Mediation if necessary

     

     

    Track B

    Divorce, Legal Separation or Annulment without Children

    52 Weeks

    (12 Months)

    (Pre-Decree)

     

     

     

     

     

    Milestone Description

    Number of Weeks Per Activity

    Week of Completion

     

     

     

    Service Completed

    00

    00

    Scheduling Conference

    12

    12

    Property Pre-Trial/Conference

    08

    20

    Property Trial

    12

    32

    Decision

    04

    36

    Order

    12

    48

    Merits

    02

    50

    Final Decree

    02

    52

    TOTAL

    52

    52

     

    Track C

    Dissolution with Children

    12 Weeks

    (3 Months)

    (Pre-Decree)

     

     

     

     

     

    Milestone Description

    Number of Weeks per Activity

    Week of Completion

     

     

     

    Service Completed

    00

    00

    Merits

    11

    11

    Final Decree

    01

    12

    TOTAL

    12

    12

     

    Track D

    Dissolution without Children

    12 Weeks

    (3 Months)

    (Pre-Decree)

     

     

     

     

     

    Milestone Description

    Number of Weeks per Activity

    Week of Completion

     

     

     

    Service Completed

    00

    00

    Merits

    11

    11

    Final Decree

    01

    12

    TOTAL

    12

    12

     

    Track E

    Custody (Change)

    36 Weeks

    (9 Months)

    (Post-Decree)

     

     

     

     

     

    Milestone Description

    Number of Weeks Per Activity

    Week of Completion

     

     

     

    Service Completed

    00

    00

    Determination

    10

    10

    Custody Pre-Trial/Conference

    12

    22

    Custody Trial

    12

    34

    Order

    02

    36

    TOTAL

    36

    36

     

    Track F

    Parenting Time
    (Enforcement & Modification)

    36 Weeks

    (9 Months)

    (Post-Decree)

     

     

     

     

     

    Milestone Description

    Number of Weeks Per Activity

    Week of Completion

     

     

     

    Service Completed

    00

    00

    Trial

    12

    12

    Report/Conference

    08

    20

    Decision

    04

    24

    Order

    12

    36

    TOTAL

    36

    36

     

    Track G

    Support(Enforcement & Modification)

    52 Weeks

    (12 Months)

    (Post-Decree)

     

     

     

     

     

    Milestone Description

    Number of Weeks Per Activity

    Week of Completion

     

     

     

    Service Completed

    00

    00

    Trial

    36

    36

    Decision

    04

    40

    Order

    12

    52

    TOTAL

    52

    52

     

    Track H

    Domestic Violence (R.C. 3113.31)

    4 Weeks

    (1 Month)

     

     

     

    Milestone Description

    Number of Weeks Per Activity

    Week of Completion

     

     

     

    Ex-Parte Order

    01

    01

    Service Completed

    01

    02

    Full Hearing Final Judgment

    02

    04

    TOTAL

    04

    04

     

    Track I

    UIFSA (Uniform Interstate Family Support Act – R.C. 3115)

    12 Weeks

    (3 Months)

     

     

     

    Milestone Description

    Number of Weeks Per Activity

    Week of Completion

     

     

     

    Service Completed

    00

    00

    Trial/Decision

    10

    10

    Order

    02

    12

    TOTAL

    12

    12

     

    Track J

    Parentage (Establish)

    52 Weeks

    (12 Months)

     

     

     

    Milestone Description

    Number of Weeks Per Activity

    Week of Completion

     

     

     

    Service Completed

    00

    00

    Trial

    36

    36

    Decision

    04

    40

    Order

    12

    52

    TOTAL

    52

    52

     

    Track K

    All Others

    26 Weeks

    (6 Months)

    (Post-Decree)

     

     

     

     

     

    Milestone Description

    Number of Weeks Per Activity

    Week of Completion

     

     

     

    Service Completed

    00

    00

    Trial

    10

    10

    Decision

    04

    14

    Order

    12

    26

    TOTAL

    26

    26

     

     

    Appendix

    Appendix A

    A.    Shared Parenting Plan Requirements

    Required Information

        1. There must be a specific allocation of parenting time, including holidays.
        2. You must include a standard parenting order which is totally filled out and signed by the attorneys and parties, if the Plan refers to the standard order.
        3. The worksheet must indicate that both parents are residential parent and legal custodians.
        4. The worksheet must indicate which parent is the payor.
        5. There must be a designation of child support to be paid. The child support order must be stated as an amount per month per child, with and without the processing charge.
        6. A signed worksheet and Cash Medical Support Order must be attached even if by agreement no support is ordered.
        7. If no support is ordered, or there is a deviation from the statutory schedule of support, the plan must recite case specific reasons why a deviation is in the best interest of the child(ren).
        8. The Shared Parenting Plan must include a statement that both parents have access to all records, school activities and daycare centers or, if that is not the case, a statement as to the amount of access that each is to have and why the access is not total.
        9. The Shared Parenting Plan must contain provisions regarding: schooling, religious training, discipline, decision-making, transportation, mediation, tax exemption provisions, non-removal of the child(ren) from the jurisdiction, and notice of intent to relocate.
        10. The Plan must set out who shall pay for mediation in the event that it becomes necessary and must reflect that there be at least three mediation sessions.
        11. Each agreed Shared Parenting Plan must contain language to meet the statutory requirements regarding domestic violence, child abuse, etc.
        12. Each agreed Shared Parenting Plan must contain the appropriate waivers of findings of fact and conclusions of law.
        13. The Shared Parenting Plan must contain a statement as to the code section under which the Plan is filed.
        14. The Plan must indicate that both parents are residential parents without regard to where the child(ren) are physically located. There should be no reference to non-residential parent and visitation. All references to visitation should be termed parenting time or residency time.
        15. The Plan must include which parent has responsibility for ordinary non-emergency health care decisions.
        16. The Plan must contain approved language regarding the termination of support. An example of approved language is: Notwithstanding section 3109.01 of the Revised Code, the parental duty of support to children, including the duty of a parent to pay support pursuant to a child support order, shall continue beyond the age of majority as long as the child continuously attends on a full-time basis any recognized and accredited high school or a court-issued child support order provides that the duty of support continues beyond the age of majority. Except in cases in which a child support order requires the duty of support to continue for any period after the child reaches age nineteen, the order shall not remain in effect after the child reaches age nineteen. That duty of support shall continue during seasonal vacations.
        17. The following language, which must be bold-faced and all in capital letters, must be included: EACH PARTY TO THIS SUPPORT ORDER MUST NOTIFY THE CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT AGENCY IN WRITING OF HIS OR HER CURRENT MAILING ADDRESS, CURRENT RESIDENCE ADDRESS, CURRENT RESIDENCE TELEPHONE NUMBER, CURRENT DRIVERS’ LICENSE NUMBER, AND OF ANY CHANGES IN THAT INFORMATION. EACH PARTY MUST NOTIFY THE AGENCY OF ALL CHANGES UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE FROM THE COURT OR AGENCY, WHICHEVER ISSUED THE SUPPORT ORDER. IF YOU ARE THE OBLIGOR UNDER A CHILD SUPPORT ORDER AND YOU FAIL TO MAKE THE REQUIRED NOTIFICATIONS, YOU MAY BE FINED UP TO $50 FOR A FIRST OFFENSE, $100 FOR A SECOND OFFENSE, AND $500 FOR EACH SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE. IF YOU ARE AN OBLIGOR OR OBLIGEE UNDER ANY CHILD SUPPORT ORDER ISSUED BY A COURT AND YOU WILLFULLY FAIL TO GIVE THE REQUIRED NOTICES, YOU MAY BE FOUND IN CONTEMPT OF COURT AND BE SUBJECTED TO FINES UP TO $1,000 AND IMPRISONMENT FOR NOT MORE THAN 90 DAYS. IF YOU ARE AN OBLIGOR AND YOU FAIL TO GIVE THE REQUIRED NOTICES, YOU MAY NOT RECEIVE NOTICE OF THE FOLLOWING ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS AGAINST YOU: IMPOSITION OF LIENS AGAINST YOUR PROPERTY; LOSS OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL OR OCCUPATIONAL LICENSE, DRIVER’S LICENSE, OR RECREATIONAL LICENSE; WITHHOLDING FROM YOUR INCOME; ACCESS RESTRICTION AND DEDUCTION FROM YOUR ACCOUNTS IN FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS; AND ANY OTHER ACTION PERMITTED BY LAW TO OBTAIN MONEY FROM YOU TO SATISFY YOUR SUPPORT OBLIGATION.
        18. The following language must be included: All support under this order shall be withheld or deducted from the income or assets of the obligor pursuant to a withholding or deduction notice or appropriate order issued in accordance with Chapters 3119, 3121, 3123, and 3125 of the Revised Code or a withdrawal directive issued pursuant to sections 3123.24 to 3123.38 of the Revised Code and shall be forwarded to the oblige in accordance with Chapters 3119, 3121, 3123 and 3125 of the Revised Code.
        19. In addition to the above, the forms set forth below must be presented with the final entry:

     

          • There must be a designation of the appropriate health care order to be issued with the Decree of Shared Parenting.
          • A Health Care Verification Form containing the policy number must be included.
          • A IV-D Application must be submitted.
          • A Data Form – CDR 4905 must be submitted.

     

    Appendix B

    Standard Parenting Order