Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that an order appointing a guardian ad litem (GAL) for an adult is not a final, appealable order under Ohio Rev. Code 2505.02(B) and vacated the trial court’s order appointing a GAL to act on Appellant’s behalf in her divorce case. The court of common pleas, domestic relations division, issued an order appointing a GAL to represent Appellant in her divorce case without providing her with prior notice or an opportunity to be heard on the issue. The Supreme Court remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings, holding (1) because the order was issued during a special proceeding and affects a substantial right and because Appellant will not be provided adequate relief if she is not permitted immediately to appeal the order, the order is a final, appealable order under section 2505.02(B)(2); and (2) the order violated Appellant’s due process rights. View "Thomasson v. Thomasson" on Justia Law

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In adoption proceedings, a probate court must consider the existence of pending parenting matters when determining whether an exception to the requirement of parental consent to adoption applies. Stepfather filed petitions to adopt the minor children of his wife and Father, her ex-husband. Stepfather’s adoption petition stated that Father’s consent was not required under an exception set forth in Ohio Rev. Code 3107.06 because Father failed without justifiable cause to provide more than a de minimis contact with the children for at least a year immediately preceding the filing of the petitions. While Stepfather’s adoption petitions were pending in the probate court, proceedings in domestic-relations court remained ongoing, specifically, Father’s motion to reestablish parenting time. The probate court determined that Father’s consent was not required. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the probate court had jurisdiction to proceed on the adoption petitions despite the pending parenting matter in the domestic-relations court. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the probate court failed to consider Father’s motion to reestablish parenting time in determining whether Father’s consent to the adoption of his children was required. View "In re Adoption of M.G.B.-E." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the adoption decree entered in the probate court, holding that the probate judge Mark Costine patently and unambiguously lacked jurisdiction to grant Elizabeth Garrett’s petition to adopt G.G. G.G. was the granddaughter of Tamalie Garrett, who was the mother of Elizabeth. A West Virginia family court designated Elizabeth, the birth mother’s sister, as G.G.’s legal guardian and awarded Tamalie visitation. Elizabeth and G.G. subsequently moved to Ohio and filed a petition to adopt G.G. in Belmont County Probate Court. Judge Costine issued a final decree granting Elizabeth’s adoption petition. The Supreme Court vacated the adoption decree, holding that because neither the West Virginia court nor the Ohio court made a determination that the relevant persons no longer resided in West Virginia, Judge Costine’s granting of Elizabeth’s petition for adoption was a “modification” of the West Virginia order in violation of 28 U.S.C. 1738A(h). View "State ex rel. Garrett v. Costine" on Justia Law

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Rebecca and Curtis divorced. A shared-parenting decree was put into effect for their sons. In June 2015, Rebecca sought a domestic-violence civil protection order against Curtis, R.C. 3113.31, stating that she was approaching Curtis’s house to pick up the children when Curtis rushed out and threw her backward into the bushes and said Rebecca was lucky that he did not shoot her. In August 2015, the court entered a permanent domestic-violence civil protection order that expired on June 19, 2016. On September 9, the appellate court issued a show-cause order asking the parties to explain why an appeal should not be dismissed as moot because the protection order had expired. Curtis responded that Rebecca had sought the order as leverage for future post-divorce proceedings and that he faced possible collateral consequences concerning his concealed-firearm permit, his credit report, his ability to obtain housing, drive certain vehicles, and obtain future employment. Rebecca did not respond. The appellate court dismissed. The Supreme Court of Ohio affirmed. Absent demonstrated legal collateral consequences, the collateral-consequences exception to the mootness doctrine does not apply to an expired domestic-violence civil protection order. The court declined to establish a rebuttable presumption that an appeal from an expired domestic-violence civil protection order is not moot. View "Cyran v. Cyran" on Justia Law

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In this termination of parental rights case, the actions of the juvenile court in allowing the attorney for Mother to withdraw from the case at a permanent custody hearing and proceeding with the hearing without Mother present and without an attorney representing her constituted reversible error. The juvenile court granted permanent custody of Mother’s child to Franklin County Children Services after the permanent custody hearing. the court of appeals upheld the permanent custody order. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Mother did not waive her right to counsel when she did not appear at the final hearing and was improperly denied her right to counsel. View "In re R.K." on Justia Law

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K.R. filed suit in the domestic-relations court to establish paternity and to allocate parental rights and responsibilities for M.W.’s minor child. On Friday, April 14, the court held a hearing on its own motion; Magistrate McKinley issued a decision, finding probable cause to believe that the child was a neglected, abused, and/or dependent child, that she was in immediate danger, and that removal was necessary to prevent immediate or threatened physical or emotional harm. He ordered the child placed in the immediate custody of Richland County Children Services (RCCS) and ordered the case transferred to the juvenile court. The following Monday, RCCS sought to set aside that decision. Days later, Judge Cockley signed a judgment entry adopting the magistrate’s decision. RCCS sought a writ of mandamus to compel a ruling on RCCS’s motion and a writ of prohibition vacating the decision and barring the domestic-relations court from issuing future custody orders that are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The Supreme Court of Ohio denied the motion to dismiss, granted a peremptory writ of prohibition, and denied the requested writ of mandamus as moot. The domestic-relations court’s only recourse, upon suspicion of abuse, neglect, or dependency, is to transfer the matter to the juvenile court. Magistrate McKinley and Judge Cockley unambiguously lacked jurisdiction to order that the child be placed in the immediate custody of RCCS. View "Richland County Children Services. v. Richland County. Court of Common Pleas" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Appellant’s petition for a writ of prohibition in this case seeking modification of child support. After a Florida dissolution decree was registered in Ohio, Mother filed the motion to modify child support. Father moved to dismiss, arguing that the Ohio trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the motion to modify child support. Judge Colleen Falkowski denied the motion to dismiss, finding that jurisdiction to rule on the motion to modify child support was provided by Ohio Rev. Code 3115.611(A)(2). Thereafter, Father filed a petition for a writ of prohibition seeking an order preventing Judge Falkowski and a magistrate of the common pleas court (collectively, Appellees) from exercising further jurisdiction over the motion to modify child support. The court of appeals dismissed Father’s petition, finding that Father failed to demonstrate that Appellees lacked jurisdiction to proceed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not patently and unambiguously lack jurisdiction to determine whether section 3115.611(A)(2) authorized it to rule on Mother’s motion to modify the out-of-state child-support order. View "Salloum v. Falkowski" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals, which concluded that the consent of Appellant, the putative father of Child, to Child’s adoption by Appellees was not necessary because Appellant “willfully abandoned” the birth mother during her pregnancy and up to the time that the child was placed with Appellees. Specifically, the court held (1) Ohio Rev. Code 3107.07(B) does not equate the failure to care for and support the mother with willful abandonment of the mother; and (2) the probate court’s determination the Appellant willfully abandoned the mother was both contrary to the express language in section 3107.07(B)(2) (c) and against the manifest weight of the evidence. Because Appellees did not assert any other bases for the adoption to proceed without Appellant’s consent, the court remanded the matter to the probate court to vacate its adoption decree and to dismiss Appellees’ adoption petition. View "In re Adoption of P.L.H." on Justia Law

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In 1988, Father was ordered to pay child support for his two children until the children were emancipated. In 2006, judgment entries were issued stating that the children were emancipated and ordering Father to pay arrearages owed. In 2009, an indictment was handed down containing nine counts related to Father’s failure to pay the ordered child support. The indictment was not served on Father until 2013. Father filed a motion to dismiss the indictment on due process and speedy trial grounds and because the six-year statute of limitations for felonies had run. The court dismissed all counts but two related to Father's failure to pay support from 2007 through 2009. Father then moved to dismiss those remaining counts, arguing that because his daughters were emancipated as of 2006, he had no duty to provide support to them after that date, and therefore, he was not obligated to pay support from 2007 through 2009. The trial court granted Father’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Father was not subject to prosecution under section 2919.21(B) for his failure to make payments on the child-support arrearage established in the 2006 order when he had no current legal obligation to support his emancipated children. View "State v. Pittman" on Justia Law

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Mother gave birth to a child while serving a prison sentence. Crawford County Department of Job and Family Services (the Agency) filed a complaint requesting permanent custody of the child. The juvenile court terminated Mother’s parental rights to the child and granted permanent custody to the Agency. Mother appealed, arguing that the Agency did not make a good-faith effort to reunify her with child because the child could have been placed with a relative as a substitute caregiver when the Agency had temporary custody of the child. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the testimony presented at the permanent-custody hearing provided an appropriate basis for rejecting the relative as a relative caregiver. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in not finding error in the Agency’s decision to deny the relative at issue as a substitute caregiver. View "In re A.J." on Justia Law