A. FILING THE COMPLAINT IN DIVORCE, LEGAL SEPARATION, AND PETITIONS
1. In addition to complying with the requirements of Local Rules 3.01 and 3.02, the caption of all domestic relations complaints and petitions shall include the full names, prior surnames, aliases, and addresses of the parties, and the attorneys’ e-mail addresses. The completed personal identifier sheet included in Appendix G shall accompany the pleadings; this sheet will not be part of the public record.
2. The financial disclosure statements shall be attached to every complaint for divorce, spousal support, or legal separation, and petition for dissolution. The defendant or respondent shall file his/her disclosure statements within 28 days of service. Schedule A is included in Appendix H and Schedule B is included in Appendix I. The Uniform Ohio Domestic Relations Forms adopted by the Supreme Court of Ohio may be used in lieu of Schedules A and B. All schedules will be filed in a confidential file as required by Sup.R. 44.
3. Petitions for dissolution of marriage will only be accepted by the Clerk of Courts if at least one of the petitioners has been a resident of Wood County for at least
90 days preceding the filing of the petition.
4. A Waiver of Attorney affidavit for an unrepresented petitioner in a dissolution shall be attached to the petition
Waiver of Service of Process on the parties shall be filed with a petition of dissolution.
6. Any pleading tendered for filing that does not comply with this rule and Local Rule 3.01(A) shall not be accepted for filing by the Clerk and shall be returned immediately to the tendering party, and if accepted for filing
may be dismissed.
7. In a case involving children, a
Health Insurance affidavit, included in Appendix J, and a UCCJEA affidavit, included in Appendix K, must be attached to the pleadings. The parties to the action shall complete the parenting seminar within 30 days of the filing of the complaint or petition and prior to the final hearing. The children of the marriage shall attend the Changing Families program prior to the final hearing. An application for benefits under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act shall be received by the Wood County Child Support Enforcement Agency prior to the issuance of any child support order.
8. Upon the filing of an action for divorce or legal separation, a mutual temporary restraining order shall be issued as set forth in appendix
L. The Clerk shall include a copy of the temporary restraining order with the summons and petition served on defendant and shall mail a copy of the temporary restraining order to the plaintiff by ordinary mail.
9. The case designation form
in Appendix A must be provided with the pleadings.
10. Notice of hearings shall be sent to attornes by email.
THE DEFENDANT OR RESPONDENT
An attorney shall file an Entry of Appearance immediately after being
retained by a party so that the court can provide all notices to the
attorney and the opposing party can serve any subsequent pleadings upon the
C. MANDATORY DISCLOSURE
Within 40 days of the filing of an answer, each party shall disclose to the other all of the following:
1. The identity of all pensions, profit sharing, and retirement benefits including IRAs and the most recent summary.
2. All COBRA benefits to which the other party may be entitled
3. Copies of all real estate deeds and vehicle titles and any appraisals
4. Copies of the last three years income tax returns
5. Documentary proof of current income from all sources
6. Copies of the most recent statements on all bank accounts, life insurance policies, mortgages, credit card accounts and other debts
7. The identity of any safety deposit box
Failure to comply with this rule may result in sanction under Civ.R. 37, including a contempt citation, dismissal of claims, and restrictions upon the submission of evidence.
Service By Posting In Indigent Cases
Notices posted pursuant to Civ. R. 4.4(A)(2) for
service by publication for a plaintiff will be posted in the Wood County Courthouse, Wood County Office Building, lobby of the United States Post Office in the Federal Building, Bowling Green, Ohio, and in the lobby of the United States Post Office in Perrysburg, Ohio.
Alternatively, the posting may be made on the Wood County Clerk of Courts
Website for six successive weeks.
Before service by publication can be made, an affidavit shall be filed setting forth the defendant’s last known address and efforts made to contact the defendant.
A. MOTIONS FOR TEMPORARY RELIEF
1. The hearing on the Motion for Temporary Relief shall be scheduled within 14 days after
2. One continuance of seven days may be granted to each party for good cause shown. No further continuances shall be granted.
3. If at the time set for hearing the opposing party does not appear and the Court finds that the moving party made a good faith attempt to give notice of the hearing as required by this Rule, then, whether there has been actual notice, the Court may proceed with the hearing, taking evidence under oath, or by affidavit, and may grant
temporary relief as provided by Civ. R. 75(N)(1).
a. The testimony under oath shall have the same effect as the filing of affidavits required by Civ. R. 75(N)(2).
b. The opposing party may then file counter affidavits and a motion requesting an oral hearing to modify such temporary orders as provided by Civ. R. 75(N)(2).
B. MOTIONS FOR ATTORNEY FEES
1. How Made
a. A request for attorney fees and expenses to prosecute an action shall be included in the body of the motion or other pleading that gives rise to the request for fees.
b. A request for attorney fees and expenses to defendant shall be by motion filed at least 14 days prior to the hearing.
c. No oral motion for fees shall be entertained unless good cause is shown why the provisions of this rule could not be complied with.
2. At the time of the hearing on the motion that gives rise to the request for fees, the party seeking such fees shall present:
a. 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;
b. Testimony as to whether the case was complicated by any or all of the following:
i. New or difficult issues of law;
ii. Difficulty in ascertaining or valuing the parties’ assets;
iii. Problems with completing discovery;
iv. Any other factor necessitating extra time being spent on the case
c. Testimony regarding the attorney’s years in practice and experience in domestic relations cases; and
d. Evidence of the parties’ respective income and expenses, if not otherwise disclosed during the proceedings.
e. Evidence of the other party’s attorney fees.
3. Absent evidence as outlined above, $500 shall be
considered a reasonable amount, unless otherwise determined by the court.
4. Expert testimony is not required to prove reasonableness of attorney fees.
C. PRETRIAL CONFERENCE
1. The Court, on its own motion or on the request of a party, may order an initial pretrial conference not later than 45 days from service of summons on any case.
2. The purpose of the pretrial conference shall be to achieve an amicable settlement of the controversy and, in the event settlement is not possible, to expedite trial of the action. At the time of the pretrial conference, counsel shall be prepared to:
a. Narrow the legal issues in controversy;
b. Admit to facts not in dispute;
c. Stipulate to the authenticity of documents and other exhibits to be introduced at trial;
d. Exchange medical reports, psychological reports and hospital
e. Exchange reports of expert witnesses
expected to be called at trial and any reports or appraisals
f. Give the names of all witnesses whom they intend to call and state the general nature of their testimony.
g. Discuss the possibility of mediation; and
h. Confirm that parties have attended the
3. The parties and counsel shall be present at the pretrial unless a written Motion to Excuse Attendance has been filed and granted prior to the pretrial conference. Parties may participate fully in the pretrial conference.
4. Failure of the parties or counsel to appear, cooperate, or to be prepared to negotiate may result in sanctions.
5. Following the pretrial conference the
court may issue a pretrial order requiring the defendant and plaintiff to file certain information with the
court or to perform certain actions.
6. The Court may require counsel, by written order, to submit a joint pretrial statement to the Court not later than
10 days prior to scheduled final hearing.
D. MOTIONS FOR CONTINUANCE
Once a case is assigned for a hearing or trial, it may be continued only by leave granted by the
court for good cause shown and upon written request 14 days in advance. Consent of counsel and/or the parties does not constitute good cause.
No motion for continuance shall be considered unless the moving party states that opposing counsel consents to the continuance or the reason that no consent has been received.
Parties must also consent to the request to continue. The reason for the continuance and the number of previous continuances must be stated.
E. IN CAMERA INTERVIEWS
All interviews with children shall be conducted in camera in accordance with R.C. 3109.04. The court may permit counsel and the
guardian ad litem to be present.
The transcript of the interview shall be sealed and preserved for appellate review and neither party shall be permitted to obtain a copy.
F. PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATIONS
A motion for psychological evaluation shall b made as soon as possible and
no later than 60 days after the pending action is filed.
2. If a motion for a psychological evaluation is made, the court will allocate the costs of the evaluation at the time of appointing an evaluator.
3. If either party fails to pay his/her share of the costs,
he/she may be found in contempt and be subject to sanctions, including the dismissal of the motion for allocation of parental rights.
4. The psychologist’s report shall be made available to the attorneys and the
guardian ad litem at the Court. It is not to be copied or released to the parties
without court approval.
1. Two weeks prior to the final hearing or
motion hearing, each party or counsel shall notify the opposing party of the
name of any witness expected to testify.
2. Exhibits for the hearing shall be exchanged
at least one week prior to the hearing pursuant to Local Rule 6.18.
Temporary Restraining Orders
A. RESTRAINING ORDERS
The person to be restrained must be a party to the action. The court places a temporary restraining order into effect immediately upon the filing of a complaint for divorce or legal separation.
B. POST DECREE RESTRAINING ORDERS
Post decree restraining orders may be granted only if a motion is pending and the assets or activities to be restrained are directly related to the pending motion.
C. DISSOLVING ORDER
A party against whom an ex parte restraining order has been granted may file a motion, supported by an affidavit, requesting that such order be dissolved. A motion to dissolve an ex parte restraining order shall be set for hearing, as if it were a motion for temporary relief under the Local Rules, and in compliance with with Civ.R. 53 and 75. 86.
Motions For Temporary Allocation Of Parental Rights and Responsibilities and Temporary Support
A. COHABITATION OF THE PARTIES
In cases where the parties continue to reside together at the time of a hearing on a motion for temporary allocation of parental rights and responsibilities or temporary support, the matter shall be treated as a motion to determine and fix the payment of specific ongoing expenses, and no temporary allocation of parental rights and responsibilities or support order shall generally issue so long as the parties continue to reside together.
B. TEMPORARY SUPPORT ORDERS
1. All persons seeking child support should apply to the Wood County Child Support Enforcement Agency for Title IV-D case services not later than the date of the hearing. No support order shall issue until the application has been received by the Wood County Child Support Enforcement Agency.
2. A temporary support order shall generally be a Magistrate’s
Order pursuant to Civ.R. 53.
3. Either party may file a motion to modify a temporary support order based on a substantial change in circumstances of either party or the child since the date of the prior order.
4. All consent temporary support orders shall be approved by the Magistrate before the hearing is terminated.
Motion for Exclusive Use of Premises
A. CONTENTS OF MOTION
A motion for the exclusive use of the marital premises shall specifically state the factual basis for the motion and shall be supported by an affidavit of the moving party supporting such facts.
A motion for the exclusive use of the marital premises generally is not granted except in cases involving domestic violence as per Rule 6.07.
Domestic Violence and Stalking Actions
An action for a civil protection order under either the civil Domestic Violence statute, R.C. 3113.31, et seq., or the Civil Stalking Protection Order statute, R.C. 2903.214, shall be initiated by filing a
petition with the Clerk of Courts who shall assign such case a separate domestic violence or stalking number. If the
petitioner and respondent are parties to a pending or prior domestic relations action or other domestic violence stalking action, the case shall be assigned to the Courtroom assigned any such pending or prior matter,
as outlined in Local Rule 4.02.
Unless otherwise directed by the Judge
a civil protection ex parte hearing shall be heard by a magistrate and shall be heard the same day as the petition is filed, so long as the petition is filed by 3:00 p.m.
NCIC form resulting from a civil protection order contains confidential
information and is not part of the public record.
Reopening The Domestic Relations Case
A. All motions to modify a prior order, either contested or by consent of all parties, must state:
1. The date of the prior order;
2. The exact language of the prior order sought to be modified;
3. Complete and accurate statement of the reasons or basis for change;
4. The specific modification requested;
5. The name and addresses of the plaintiff and defendant;
6. The name, addresses and dates of birth of the children involved;
7. Any pertinent financial information, including Schedule C, included as Appendix M, which is the court’s prescribed financial disclosure schedule for modification;
8. If the parties have previously agreed to a shared parenting plan, a statement that they have participated in mediation but were unable to reach an agreement.
B. Failure to comply with this rule may be sufficient grounds to deny a motion for filing, or if filed, to be dismissed.
C. All such contested motions shall be served according to Civ.R 4 and Civ.R 75.
D. The court may require the parties to attend the parenting seminar in motions regarding minor children
Motion for Emergency Order
A. All emergency orders shall comply with Local Rule 6.08, and shall be accompanied by an affidavit
B. Upon initial screening, if the court finds that immediate intervention is necessary, the court may issue an emergency order and will set the matter for a hearing as expeditiously as possible, with notice to go to the parties.
C. If the court finds that no emergency exists, the matter will proceed according to the local rules.
Motion to Show Cause Why a Party Should Not be Held in Contempt of a Prior Order
A. Any motion to show cause shall:
1. Comply with Local Rule 6.08; and
2. State the facts constituting non-compliance; and
3. Be supported by affidavit.
B. Motions to show cause pertaining to non-payment of child or spousal support shall also state:
1. The date of the last order of support;
2. The amount of said order;
3. The total elapsed time from the date of the order to the date of filing of the motion;
4. The amount which should have been paid and the amount which was actually paid during the period;
5. The amount of arrearage supported by an attached CSEA record;
6. For support orders after July 1, 1992, the amount of interest being requested and the calculations relied upon to support the claim.
C. For purposes of computing arrearage, the effective date of any order for support shall be the date the order was journalized unless the order specifically designates some other effective date. At the hearing, the movant shall be prepared to update the arrearage computation to the date of hearing.
D. A show cause motion for unpaid medical bills shall contain:
The Explanation of Medical Bills from Appendix N completed and attached to the motion;
2. An Affidavit alleging as applicable:
a. Movant has sent copies of the medical bills to the ex-spouse and the dates sent;
b. Movant has sent copies of the bills to the ex-spouse and the dates sent and dates returned;
c. Movant has sent bills to ex-spouse and ex-spouse has not paid or acknowledged receipt of the bills
d. Movant has sent copies of the bills to the ex-spouse and the ex-spouse has refused payment; or
e. Any other pertinent information
3. Do not file copies of the medical bills with the motion. File the affidavit and completed Explanation of Medical Bills.
4. Attorneys or moving parties shall send a copy of all bills, proof of insurance paid, and proof of the movant’s payment to opposing counsel or the self-represented party in advance, and provide a copy for the court at the hearing.
5. The moving party must be able to identify bills, dates of service, purpose for treatment, total bill, amounts paid by insurance, amount paid by movant, and amount sought from the opposing party.
6. All motions to compel the payment of medical bills shall be filed within 24 months of the initial billing to the moving party.
Final Judgment Entries and Other Entries Involving Support
A. When the final judgment entry is submitted to the
court, there shall be an original plus four copies. The final entry
shall be submitted at the time of the final hearing or, if necessary,
withing 14 days of the final hearing.
B. The party required to draft a final judgment entry involving a final divorce, dissolution of marriage, legal separation, child support, spousal support, domestic violence, or modification of support shall include the following information in the entry/decree:
1. A specific date on which support shall commence.
2. The amount of support including administrative fee, which is to be calculated on a monthly basis, with a copy of the child support worksheet attached.
a. Any deviations from the statutory child support schedules must be supported by written findings of fact supporting the conclusion that the amount arrived at from the work sheets would be unjust or inappropriate and would not be in the best interest of the child as required by statute.
b. Any order which provides for future automatic adjustments shall be
affected by the submission of an appropriate order at the time of change.
3. The name, current residence address, mailing address, if different, and birth date of the Obligor and Obligee, and any children. The social security numbers of parties shall not be included on any filing, unless otherwise directed by statute.
4. The total amount of arrearage, if any, determined by the
court and the payment thereon as determined by the court.
5. The standard additional order language that the
court may specify from time to timeby attaching the court's Additional
Orders, included as Appendix O.
The required language addressing health care insurance coverage for any minor children of the parties in compliance with
the statute, and in a form prescribed by the court.
7. A provision assigning the tax dependency exemption.
C. All paragraphs dealing with child and/or spousal support shall be underlined or carry a descriptive heading.
D. If the parties have not entered into a shared parenting agreement, then the reason that the shared parenting agreement is not in the best interest of the child(ren).
local or long distance parenting time schedules in Appendix P and Appendix
Q, if referenced on the final decree, shall be attached to the final entry.
F. The separation agreement approved by the
court and incorporated into the decree of dissolution shall be attached to the final decree of dissolution.
G. If there is to be a separate QDRO/DOPO, language shall be included in the separation agreement or the judgment entry outlining the recipient’s rights in the retirement benefits and stating who is responsible to prepare and pay the cost of the QDRO/DPO.
H. The manner of payment of spousal support shall be set forth.
I. All entries shall conform to Local Rule 4.05
and shall contain the certification in Local Rule 4.05(B)(5) if the attorney who
prepared the entry has not received a response from the opposing attorney or
Guardians Ad Litem
court may appoint a Guardian Ad Litem for minor children as it deems
appropriate. B. A guardian ad litem shall be a person particularly experienced or trained in dealing with children, their interests and concerns and who is qualified under Sup.R. 48. The
court may choose a Court Appointed Special Advocate to act as guardian ad litem in appropriate circumstances. Any attorney who is appointed as a
guardian ad litem, shall also serve as attorney for the children.
C. If a
guardian ad litem is requested by either party in a contested matter before the
court, the court will order either party or both to deposit funds for the guardian
ad litem as specified in the entry prior to the commencement of the guardian
ad litem’s investigation. The court may require additional deposits as needed. If payment is not made as ordered, the non-paying party may be subject to sanctions, including dismissal of his/her motion for allocation of parental rights.
D. The request for a guardian ad litem may be made with the filing of any motion or complaint and shall be made within 45 days of service of the complaint/motion, together with a proposal as to payment of the deposit. The motion shall suggest how the deposit shall be allocated. If a guardian ad litem is requested by an indigent party who has filed a proper poverty affidavit, the guardian ad litem fee may be assessed as court costs at the court’s discretion. The court will not entertain a motion for a guardian ad litem after a trial date has been set without good cause shown.
E. In order to ensure the compensation for the services of the
guardian ad litem, the court considers the guardian ad litem fees as child support non-dischargeable in bankruptcy against the party or parties in the action for the amount due at the time of the final adjudication.
F. The guardian shall render a written report by the date designated by the court. Failure to timely file the written report may result in the disqualification of the guardian or the withholding of all or partial payment for services. The written report shall be filed with the clerk in the confidential file required by Sup.R. 44. It shall become an exhibit if the case proceeds to trial.
guardian ad litem's services shall be terminated upon the conclusion of the final hearing of the divorce or upon motion of both parties.
The office manager shall assure that the guardians meet the requirements of
Sup. R. 48 and shall coordinate the application and appointment files as
well as all record-keeping requirements.
I. The court will consider a written motion to remove a guardian
and may conduct a hearing to determine if he or she has breached the duties and responsibilities of a guardian ad litem.
A party may submit any written comments or concerns regarding the
performance of a guardian to the office manager. The office manager shall
provide a copy to the guardian. The court will then review the matter and
notify the complainant of the disposition. The court will maintain these
records with the file for the guardian ad litem.
An attorney for the child will be appointed if there is a conflict between
the child’s wishes and the recommendation of the guardian or when the court
finds that it is necessary to protect the interests of the child. Neither
party shall attempt to obtain legal counsel for the minor child.
Magistrates in Domestic Relations Cases
A. A magistrate may be assigned to hear all divorce, dissolution, legal separation, annulment, domestic violence, stalking and CPO cases.
B. The magistrate may require counsel to prepare the judgment entry. The judgment entry shall reflect any decision of the magistrate. The counsel who was directed to prepare the judgment entry shall submit the entry to opposing counsel within 14 days after the filing of any decision. Within seven days after receiving the entry, opposing counsel shall
1. Approve it and submit it signed to the court or
2. Reject it and send it to the court unsigned with an explanation as to why it was rejected with a copy sent to preparing counsel.
Failure to provide a judgment entry in a timely fashion may result in dismissal.
C. At the time of hearing with the magistrate, the parties may waive the time period to file objections to the decision or order of the magistrate and consent to its immediate adoption by the Court. This shall be in writing and signed as an acknowledgment by the parties.
D. Parties may object to the magistrate’s decision or order pursuant to Civ. R. 53(D)(3). Said objections shall be filed within the time limits established in Civ. R. 53, and may be supplemented within 14 days of the filing of a transcript.
The parties shall make arrangements for the transcript directly with the
Transcripts for Domestic Relations Cases
A. If objections to the Magistrate's Decision are based in whole or in part on the factual findings of the Magistrate, then the objections must be supported by a transcript or parts thereof.
B. A request for an extension of time to supplement the objections must be filed within the original 14 day period for filing objections to the Magistrate's Decision. Such motion shall include the name of the court reporter responsible for preparing the transcript, a request for a transcript, and an approximate date by which the transcript will be available.
C. Since preparation of a transcript may cause delay in the final disposition of a case, the
judge, in granting an extension of time, may make such temporary orders as are deemed necessary and just. This includes requiring the party requesting the extension to post bond to cover any damages the opposing party may suffer because of the delay or ordering compliance with the Magistrate's Decision pending disposition of the objections.
D. A deposit by the objecting party shall be submitted to the
court reporter within 10 days of the filing of the request for transcript. The deposit amount will be an estimate of charges determined by the
court reporter and upon completion of the transcript, if the estimate is not correct, a refund or additional charge will be made. If there is an additional charge, the party requesting the transcript will be notified by the
court reporter, and shall submit the balance of the transcript charges within three days of notification. A transcript of the proceedings will not be prepared or filed by the
Court Reporter in the absence of the advance deposit fee, and any balance due. Failure to comply with these rules is a basis for dismissal of the objection.
E. If an objection by a party is to a factual finding of the
magistrate, the objection must make specific reference to any pages in the transcript which support the objection.
court may, at any time, refer any case to mediation in accordance with these rules.
B. CASE SELECTION
court, on its own motion, on a party's request, or by agreement of the parties may refer disputed issues to mediation in whole or in part. Promptly after receiving referral, the
court mediator shall send all parties a "Mediation Notice" which shall, at a minimum, indicate the date, time, place of the mediation, and the contact information of the
mediator. All parties and counsel shall advise the assigned judge or magistrate of any domestic violence allegations known to them to exist or to 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 any two or more persons whose attendance is required by the referral order.
court mediator will determine the eligibility and appropriateness of each referral prior to the commencement of the mediation process and may decline any referral deemed inappropriate.
3. Specific appointments may be made by the court taking into consideration the qualification, skills, expertise, and caseload of the mediator in addition to the type, complexity and requirements of the case.
In accordance of all applicable provisions of this rule, if a case is deemed appropriate by the court mediator, mediation will be scheduled. A mediator may meet with the parties individually prior to bringing the parties together for any reason including, but not limited to further screening. A mediator may schedule multiple mediation sessions, if necessary and mutually acceptable for the resolution of the issues in part or in their entirety.
1. 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.
d. Prohibit the use of mediation in any of the following:
i. As an alternative to the prosecution or adjudication of domestic violence;
ii. In determining whether to grant, modify or terminate a protection order;
iii. In determining the terms and conditions of a protection order; and
iv. In determining the penalty for violation of a protection order.
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 protective order.
2. Mediation of allocation of parental rights and responsibilities or the care of, or visitation with, minor children or delinquency or status offense cases shall abide by all provisions set forth in (C)(1) of this rule. Mediation may then proceed, when violence or fear of violence is alleged, suspected, or present, only if the mediator has specialized training set forth in section (D) 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 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
court mediator to terminate mediation if he or she believes there is continued threat of domestic violence or coercion between the parties.
e. Procedures are in place for issuing written findings of fact, as required by R.C. 3109.052, to refer certain cases involving domestic violence to mediation.
3. Party/Non-Party Participation
a. Parties who are ordered into mediation shall attend scheduled mediation sessions. The
court may order parties to return to mediation at any time.
b. A judge, magistrate and/or court mediator may require the attendance of the parties' attorneys at the mediation sessions if the court mediator deems it necessary and appropriate.
c. If counsel of any party to the mediation becomes aware of the identity of a person or entity whose consent is required to resolve the dispute, but has not yet been joined as a party in the pleadings, they shall promptly inform the court mediator as well as the assigned judge or magistrate.
d. If the opposing parties to any case are 1) related by blood, adoption, or marriage: 2) have resided in a common residence, or 3) have known or alleged domestic violence at any time prior to or during the mediation, then the parties and their counsel have a duty to disclose such information to the
court mediator and have duty to participate in any screening required by the
e. By participating in mediation a nonparty participant, as defined by R.C. 2710.01(D), agrees to be bound by this rule and submits to the court's jurisdiction to the extent necessary for enforcement of this rule. Any nonparty participant shall have the rights and duties under this rule attributed to parties except as provided by R.C. 2710.03(B)(3) and 2710.04(A)(2).
4. Confidentiality/Privilege - All mediation communications related to or made during the mediation process are subject to and governed by the "Uniform Mediation Act" (R.C.
2710), R.C. 3109.052, the Rules of Evidence and any other pertinent judicial rules.
5. Mediator Conflicts of Interest - In accordance with R.C. 2710.08(A) and (B), the
court 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
court mediator's impartiality as soon as such conflict(s) become known to the
court mediator. If counsel or a mediation party requests that the court
mediator withdraw because of the facts so disclosed, the assigned court mediator should withdraw and request that the assigned
judge or magistrate appoint another court mediator.
6. Termination - If the
court 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.
7. 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 or the
court's consideration of pending motions, 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.
8. Continuances - It is the policy of this
court to determine matters in a timely manner. Continuances of scheduled mediations shall be granted only for good cause shown.
9. Mediator's Report - At the conclusion of the mediation and in compliance with R.C. 2710.06, the
court mediator shall prepare and file a mediation report.
To be a court approved mediator the following qualifications apply:
1. General Qualifications and Training - A mediator employed by the court or to whom the court makes referrals for mediation of allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, the care of, or visitation with, minor children, abuse, neglect and dependency, or juvenile perpetrated violence cases shall satisfy all of the following:
a. Possess a bachelor's degree or equivalent education or experience as is satisfactory to the division, 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
b. Complete at least
12 hours of basic mediation training or equivalent experience as a mediator
that is satisfactory to the Court.
c. After completing the above training, complete at least
40 hours of specialized family training or divorce mediation training which has been approved by the Dispute Resolution Section of the Supreme Court.
2. Specific Qualifications and Training
for Domestic Abuse - A mediator employed by the court or to whom the court makes referrals for mediation of any case
involving domestic abuse shall complete at least 14 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 these cases only if he/she co-mediates with a mediator who has completed the specialized training.
E. Fees and Costs - All costs shall be determined by the
court, if applicable. The court may require appropriate deposits to cover the costs prior to mediation.
F. Sanctions - If any individual ordered by the
court to attend mediation fails to attend mediation without good cause, the
court may impose sanctions which may include, but are not limited to, the award of attorney's fees and other costs, contempt or other appropriate sanctions at the discretion of the assigned
judge or magistrate.
Upon motion by either party, the
court will refer the matter to the judge for conciliation proceedings. All matters shall be stayed during the conciliation process.
1. The Court may order parenting coordination, sua sponte or upon written or oral motion by one or both parties, when one or more of the following factors are present:
a. The parties have ongoing disagreements about the implementation of a parental rights and responsibilities or companionship time order and need ongoing assistance;
b. There is a history of extreme or ongoing parental conflict that has been unresolved by previous litigation or other interventions and from which a child of the parties is adversely affected;
c. The parties have a child 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 intervention by the Court;
d. The parties have a child 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 intervention by the Court;
e. 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;
f. Any other factor as determined by the Court.
2. The Court may appoint a parenting coordinator who has the following
a. A master’s degree or higher, a law degree, or education and experience satisfactory to the Court;
b. At least two years of 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;
c. Training that has been approved by the Dispute Resolution Section of the Supreme Court, in the following order:
i. At least 12 hours of basic mediation training;
ii. At least 40 hours of specialized family or divorce mediation training;
iii. At least 14 hours of specialized training in domestic abuse and dispute resolution;
iv. At least 12 hours of specialized training in parenting coordination.
3. In addition to the qualifications under
section (D)(2) of this rule, the Court may appoint a parenting coordinator to an abuse, neglect or dependency case provided the parenting coordinator meets both of the following qualifications:
a. Significant experience working with family disputes;
b. At least 32 hours of specialized child protection training that has been approved by the Dispute Resolution Section of the Supreme Court.
4. To maintain eligibility for appointment, a parenting coordinator shall complete at least
three hours per calendar year of continuing education relating to children approved by the Dispute Resolution Section of the Supreme Court.
5. The appointment order shall set forth the following:
a. The name of the parenting coordinator and any contact information the Court may choose to include:
b. The specific powers and duties of the parenting coordinator;
c. The term of the appointment;
d. The scope of confidentiality;
e. The parties’ responsibility for fees and expenses for services rendered by the parenting coordinator; and
f. Parenting coordination terms and conditions.
6. The parenting coordinator who meets the qualifications in
section (D)(2) and, if applicable, (D)(3) shall be selected using one of the following:
a. Use of a court employee;
b. Random selection from the Court’s roster of parenting coordinators;
c. Specific appointment based on the type of case and the qualifications and caseload of the parenting coordinator; or
Selection by the parties of a parenting coordinator from the Court's roster
pending approved by the Court.
7. The Court shall not appoint a parenting coordinator who does not have the qualifications in
section (D)(2) and, if applicable, section (D)(3) of this 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; or attorney for either part. Parties may not waive this conflict.
8. With written consent of the parties, the Court may appoint a mediator to serve as the parenting coordinator with the same family.
9. Upon motion of a party, for good cause shown, or sua sponte, the Court may terminate or modify the parenting coordinator appointment.
1. SCREENING AND DISCLOSURE FOR DOMESTIC ABUSE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
a. All cases shall be screened for domestic abuse and domestic violence by office personnel before the commencement of the parenting coordination process and by the parenting coordinator during the parenting coordination process.
All parties and counsel shall immediately advise the staff of any domestic violence convictions and/or allegations known to them or which become known to them during the parenting coordination process.
b. When domestic abuse or domestic violence is alleged, suspected or present, before proceeding, a parenting coordinator shall:
i. 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;
ii. Have procedures in place to provide for the safety of all persons involved in the coordination process;
iii. 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.
2. ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION
a. Parties shall attend parenting coordination sessions. Requests to reschedule parenting coordination sessions shall be approved by the parenting coordinator.
b. A parenting coordinator shall allow attendance and participation of the parties and, if the parties which, their attorneys and/or any other individuals designated by the parties.
3. REFERRALS TO SUPPORT SSERVICES
A parenting coordinator shall provide information regarding appropriate referrals to resources including legal counsel, counseling, parenting courses/education and other support services for all parties, including, but not limited to, victims and suspected victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence.
4. PARENTING COORDINATION AGREEMENTS, REPORTS AND DECISIONS
a. Parties shall sign and abide by agreements reached during a parenting coordination session which shall be maintained in the parenting coordination file. The parenting coordinator shall provide a copy to each party and their attorneys, if any.
b. Upon request by the Court, the parenting coordinator shall prepare a written report including, but not limited to, the following:
i. Dates of parenting coordination session(s):
ii. Whether the parenting coordination session(s) occurred or was terminated;
iii. Requests to reschedule a parenting coordination session including the name of the requestor and the whether the request was approved
iv. Whether an agreement was reached on some, all or none of the issues;
v. Who was in attendance at each session; and
vi. The date and time of a future parenting coordination session(s).
c. The parenting coordinator shall first attempt to assist the parties in reaching 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 any. The decision shall be immediately filed with the Court and include all of the following:
i. Case caption, including the case number;
ii. Date of the decision;
iv. Reasons supporting the decision;
v. The manner in which the decision was provided to the parties; and
vi. Any other necessary information.
d. A party may file written objection(s) to a parenting coordinator’s decision, with the Court and serve all other parties to the actin, within fourteen (14) days of the filing date of the decision. If any party timely files objections(s), any other party may also file objections(s) with the Court and serve all other parties to the action, not later than ten (10) days after the first objection(s) are filed. A hearing may be scheduled, upon request, at the discretion of the Court. A judge or magistrate shall issue a ruling on the objections(s) within thirty (30) days from the date of the last objection filed.
5. PARENTING COORDINATOR EVALUATIONS AND COMPLAINTS
a. A parenting coordinator shall provide participants with the Parenting Coordinator Evaluation form, provided by the Court, prior to the first parenting coordination session and at the end of the term of the appointment.
b. The Court shall complete a review of the parenting coordinator(s) on the Court’s roster in January of each year.
c. 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 judge or magistrate who made the appointment, and include all of the following:
i. Case caption, including the case number;
ii. The name of the parenting coordinator;
iii. The name and contact information for the person making the complaint;
iv. The nature of any alleged misconduct or violation, and
v. The date(s) of the alleged misconduct or violation occurred.
d. The judge/magistrate shall provide a copy of the complaint to the parenting coordinator;
e. The parenting coordinator has fourteen (14) days from the date of the receipt of the complaint to respond I writing to the judge or magistrate.
f. The judge or magistrate shall conduct an investigation into the allegations and shall issue a response within thirty (30) days from the date the complaint was received.
A parenting coordinator shall be paid at the hourly rate
set forth in the order, unless otherwise ordered by the Court. All fees
shall be determined by the Court and included in the appointment order. Fees
shall be waived for indigent parties.
C. 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
local rule, this local rule shall control.
D. COURT REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
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
local rule, this local rule shall control.
a. A copy of this local rule;
b. A copy of the 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.
The Court may impose sanctions for any violation of this rule which may include, but not limited to, attorney’s fees and other costs, contempt or other appropriate sanctions at the discretion of the Court.
If the parties are filing for shared parenting pursuant to R.C. 3109.04(G) then the shared parenting plan submitted shall be filed as directed by the statute and shall include all relevant provisions per R.C. 3109.04(G).
While recognizing that it may not always be appropriate or in the best interest of children, in order to support parental rights and responsibilities, the
court generally favors shared parenting. All parties with minor children shall be advised of their right to request shared parenting. If shared parenting is not submitted, recommended or incorporated in the
court’s order, a statement shall be submitted to the court setting forth the specific facts and circumstances relating to the absence of shared parenting.
Standard Parenting Time Schedule
court from time to time will publish its local parenting time schedule and long distance parenting time schedule. If the schedule is referenced in an
order, it must be attached to the order. The parenting time schedules
are included in Appendix P and Appendix Q.
Exhibits For Domestic Relations Cases
A. Counsel shall mark exhibits together with an index page prior to any hearing and provide a copy to the opposing attorney or party at least one week prior to the hearing.
B. All exhibits shall have personal identifying information redacted, except to allow identification of a specific account or exhibit.
C. Counsel may utilize the court’s equipment to present exhibits in a digital format. A copy of the electronic media and hard copies shall be presented to the court.
D. The court will hold and destroy exhibits pursuant to Sup. R. 26. Counsel or the party shall notify the court if he
or she would like the exhibits returned upon the completion of the case and the expiration of
all appeal time limits.
E. All remaining exhibits, court reporter notes and electronic recordings held beyond the above time limit may be destroyed after a five year time period, unless otherwise ordered by the court.
Qualified Domestic Relations Order/Division of Property Order
A. This rule applies to all qualified domestic relations orders (“QDRO”) and division of property orders (“DOPO”) filed with this court. B. Preparation
1. Unless otherwise agreed, counsel for the alternate payee entitled to the pension or retirement plan shall prepare the QDRO/DOPO for submission to the court.
2. Whenever the parties agree to divide a pension or retirement program by a QDRO/DOPO, they, or their counsel, shall sign and approve the original QDRO/DOPO submitted to the court, and shall sign and approve any subsequent QDRO/DOPO submitted to the court, unless waived by the court.
3. If the court ordered a division of a pension or retirement program, the court may assign the responsibility to submit the QDRO/DOPO to the court to either party.
4. The QDRO/DOPO shall be prepared as soon as possible for submission to the court.
1. Unless otherwise agreed, a QDRO/DOPO for a defined benefit plan shall contain the following provisions or shall be governed by the following assumptions:
a. The QDRO/DOPO will be a separate interest QDRO/DOPO, meaning the alternate payee’s benefits shall be independent of those of the participant.
b. The division of benefits shall be based on the language of the case of Hoyt v. Hoyt, 53 Ohio St.3d 177, 559 N.E.2d 1292 (1990) and its progeny.
c. The benefits assigned to the alternate payee shall include any and all temporary and supplemental benefits. Further, the benefits assigned to the alternate payee shall include all early retirement subsidies and should the alternate payee commence receipt
of benefits prior to participant’s retirement the alternate payee’s benefits will be recalculated to reflect the subsidy.
d. The alternate payee will be deemed to be the surviving spouse of the participant to the extent of benefits assigned for the purpose of a pre-retirement survivor annuity.
e. The date of the division of the benefits will be the date of the final hearing of the case.
2. Unless otherwise agreed, a QDRO/DOPO for a defined contribution plan shall contain the following provisions or be governed by the following assumptions:
a. The date of the division of benefits will be the date of the final hearing of the case.
b. The alternate payee’s share of the benefits shall be credited with investment earnings and/or losses from the date of division until distribution.
c. The QDRO/DOPO will allow an immediate lump sum distribution of the alternate payee’s benefits.
d. Any loans from the plan shall be charged to the participant’s benefits and will remain the obligation of the participant.
e. The alternate payee’s share of the benefits will not reflect credit for sums deposited into the plan after the date of division which are based on service for periods prior to the date of division.
D. Mandatory Language
In all cases in which a QDRO/DOPO is to be issued, the final judgment entry shall contain the following language:
1. “The court retains jurisdiction with respect to the Qualified Domestic Relations Order/Division of Property Order to the extent required to maintain its qualified status and the original intent of the parties. The court also retains jurisdiction to enter further orders as are necessary to enforce the assignment of benefits to the non-participant as set forth herein, including the re-characterization thereof as a division of benefits under another plan, as applicable, or to make an award of spousal support, if applicable, in the event that the participant fails to comply with the provisions or order.”
2. “The participant shall not take actions, affirmative or otherwise, that can circumvent the terms and provisions of the Qualified Domestic Relations Order/Division of Property Order, or that may diminish or extinguish the rights and entitlements of the participant.”