Articles Posted in Ohio Supreme Court

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After Mother and Father divorced, the parties disputed the custody of their child, A.G. During a court proceeding concerning custody, the juvenile court excluded A.G., who was thirteen years old at the time, from attending the hearing. A.G. had filed a motion to attend the hearing, but the judge denied the motion, concluding that the dispute was between the parents, and therefore, A.G. had not constitutional right to be present. A.G. appealed, claiming that the trial court violated her due process rights by denying her motion to attend the proceeding. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the trial court had discretion to exclude A.G., a nonparty, from a hearing in custody litigation ancillary to her parents’ divorce. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) in child-custody litigation arising from a divorce, a court has discretion to exclude a child from any proceeding if it determines that exclusion is in the best interest of the child; and (2) the juvenile court in this case considered relevant and appropriate factors in making its decision. View "In re A.G." on Justia Law

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In this divorce action, the trial court concluded that Husband’s unvested military benefits could not be divided because the military retirement benefits were a “mere expectancy.” The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that there was no need to decide whether unvested pension benefits were a marital asset because there was insufficient evidence regarding Husband’s retirement benefits to require division of the asset. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the unvested military retirement benefits earned during the marriage fell within the definition of marital property in Ohio Rev. Code 3105.171(A)(3)(a) and must be considered for division under section 3105.171(C); and (2) the trial court had enough information in this case to make an equitable division of the benefits. Remanded. View "Daniel v. Daniel" on Justia Law

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A grand jury indicted Defendant for felonious assault and domestic violence. During a bench trial, the victim testified that Defendant was her boyfriend and had lived with her for about a year. The trial court found Defendant not guilty of felonious assault but guilty of attempted felonious assault and domestic violence. The court of appeals affirmed Defendant’s conviction for attempted felonious assault but reversed his conviction for domestic violence, ruling that the state must prove the victim and Defendant shared living expenses in order to convict Defendant of domestic violence. The Supreme Court reversed and reinstated the judgment of the trial court, holding that because the state proved that the victim was a family or household member, Defendant’s crime fell within the purview of the domestic violence statute. View "State v. McGlothan" on Justia Law

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Mother obtained sole custody of Child in a judgment issued by the juvenile court in 2009. Mother subsequently moved to Arizona with Child and made Arizona their permanent home. In 2012, while Mother left Child temporarily with her mother, Child's paternal grandfather filed a motion for emergency temporary custody of Child, which the juvenile court granted. Mother filed a complaint for a writ of prohibition, contending that the Ohio court lacked jurisdiction because she and Child were residents of Arizona. The court of appeals dismissed the case after concluding that the juvenile court had jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and that Mother had an adequate remedy by way of appeal if the juvenile court erred in its rulings. The Supreme Court reversed and granted the writ of prohibition, holding (1) if Mother could prove the allegations in her complaint, the juvenile court failed to follow the statute that creates its jurisdiction over Child; and (2) appeal was not an adequate remedy in this case because it was neither "complete," "beneficial," nor "speedy." Remanded. View "State ex rel. V.K.B. v. Smith" on Justia Law

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Wife was granted a domestic-violence civil protection order (CPO) against Husband. The trial court later dismissed the case and dissolved the CPO. Thereafter, Husband filed an application to expunge and seal the record of the CPO proceedings. The trial court denied the application. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the trial court lacked statutory authority to expunge the CPO records. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, in accordance with Pepper Pike v. Doe, a trial court has the inherent authority to grant an application to expunge and seal a record pertaining to a dissolved CPO in an adult proceeding when unusual and exceptional circumstances exist. View "Schussheim v. Schussheim" on Justia Law

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Jeffrey Morrow and Sherri Becker had two children. Morrow was ordered to pay $2,198 in child support per month. Morrow later moved to modify his child support payment. A magistrate determined that Morrow would owe $2,085 in child support per month but concluded that since the difference between that amount and the amount Morrow was currently paying was less than ten percent, Morrow's child support obligation would not be reduced. Morrow appealed, challenging the trial court's decision to include certain employer-paid benefits, such as a company car and cell phone, in Morrow's gross income to calculated his child support obligation. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not err in including the employer-paid benefits in Morrow's gross income when determining whether to modify Morrow's child support obligations. View "Morrow v. Becker" on Justia Law

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Appellant filed writs of prohibition and mandamus to prevent Appellee, a county court of common pleas judge, from proceeding in an adoption case. In the alternative, Appellant sought the writs to require the judge to permit Appellant to appear as a party in the case. The court of appeals denied the requested relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals properly denied the request for extraordinary relief in prohibition and mandamus, holding (1) the judge did not patently and unambiguously lack jurisdiction over the underlying adoption case; (2) Appellant's claims were not cognizable in an extraordinary-writ case; and (3) the fact that Appellant's attempts thus far to raise these issues on appeal had been unsuccessful did not entitle her to the requested extraordinary relief. View "State ex rel. Caskey v. Gano" on Justia Law

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After an unmarried couple ended their relationship, they reached an agreement on issues pertaining the parental rights and responsibilities regarding their child. A hearing was held on the only remaining issue that the couple could not agree upon: what the child's surname should be. The magistrate ordered that the child's surname be changed from the mother's last name to his father's last name. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the decision to change the child's surname was not supported by sufficient evidence as a matter of law, as the trial court did not confine its consideration to the best interest of the child and improperly founded its decision on gender-based conventions and stereotypes. Remanded for entry of final judgment in favor of the mother. View "D.W. v. T.L." on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was whether an indigent parent whose sentence for civil contempt at a previous hearing for failure to pay child support was suspended on condition that he comply with his child-support obligations for a year, has a right to appointed counsel at a subsequent hearing on a motion to impose the suspended sentence due to noncompliance with the conditions. The court of appeals (1) concluded that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel did not apply at the hearing, as it was civil in nature, and (2) declined to create a categorical rule that indigent parties previously represented by counsel at a contempt hearing have a due process right to appointed counsel at later purge hearings. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because a purge hearing does not amount to a new contempt proceeding, a hearing to determine whether a contemnor has purged himself of civil contempt is a civil proceeding; and (2) the Due Process Clauses of the state and federal Constitutions do not guarantee an indigent parent the right to appointed counsel at a civil-contempt purge hearing. View "Liming v. Damos" on Justia Law

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A juvenile court issued temporary visitation orders in a pending case for custody under Ohio Rev. Code 2151.23(A)(2) between a parent and nonparent. When the parent violated the orders, the trial court found the parent in contempt. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that the juvenile court lacked authority to order visitation in a section 2151.23(A)(2) custody case, and thus, the underlying temporary order was invalid, and the parent could not be in contempt of an invalid order. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstated the trial court's orders, holding that in exercising its jurisdiction under section 2151.23(A)(2), a juvenile court may issue temporary visitation orders that are in the best interest of the minor child during the litigation. View "Rowell v. Smith" on Justia Law