Justia Family Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing Appellant's complaint seeking an order prohibiting the general division judge from exercising further authority over some of the claims in the underlying case, holding that the court of appeals properly dismissed the complaint.Appellant brought an action against the estate of his ex-wife in the general division of the court of common pleas seeking to recover funds to which Appellant claimed he was entitled under the former spouses' separation agreement. The state filed a counterclaim against Appellant. The trial court ruled (1) Appellant was entitled to $15,353, but there were genuine issues that precluded summary judgment on his remaining claims; and (2) the estate was entitled to partial summary judgment on its counterclaims. Appellant then filed a complaint for a writ of prohibition seeking to prevent the judge from taking further action on the estate's counterclaim. The court of appeals dismissed the complaint. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the general division did not patently or unambiguously lack subject-matter jurisdiction, and Appellant had an adequate legal remedy by way of direct appeal. View "State ex rel. Gray v. Kimbler" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the judgments of the juvenile court granting permanent custody of three children to the Butler County Department of Job and Family Services - Children Services Division (the agency), holding that the current challenge to the juvenile court's jurisdiction was barred by res judicata.The dispositional hearing granting the agency temporary custody of the children in this case occurred more than ninety days after the filing of complaints for temporary custody. The juvenile court then granted permanent custody to the agency. The appellate court reversed, concluding that the juvenile court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to grant permanent custody to the agency because the temporary-custody judgment was void. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) even if no motion to dismiss has been filed, under the plain language of former Ohio Rev. Code 2151.35(B)(1), the juvenile court is required to dismiss the complaint after ninety days; (2) a juvenile court's failure to dismiss the complaint is an error in the exercise of the court's jurisdiction, not one that deprives the court of jurisdiction; and (3) the judgments granting temporary custody of the children to the agency were valid, and the parents' challenge to the juvenile court's jurisdiction was barred by res judicata. View "In re K.K." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing Appellant's complaint seeking a writ of procedendo against the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations, holding that Appellant was entitled to a writ of procedendo.M.D., the defendant in a divorce case, commenced this procedendo action in the court of appeals seeking a writ of procedendo compelling the domestic relations court to proceed in the divorce case and a domestic violence civil protection order (DVCPO) case, both of which had been pending since May 31, 2017. The court of appeals dismissed the action. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the divorce and DVCPO cases far exceeded the time frames stated in the guidelines set by the Rules of Superintendence for the Court of Ohio. View "State ex rel. M.D. v. Kelsey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted a writ of procedendo to compel Franklin County Probate Court Judge Jeffrey Mackey to lift a stay in a probate case and proceed with Relators' adoption petition, holding that the court abused its discretion by allowing the adoption proceeding to languish in this case.In July 2019, Relators filed a petition to adopt Z.W.D., identifying K.T. as the minor child's biological mother. After the Supreme Court held in 2020 that indigent parents have a constitutional right to counsel in adoption proceedings in probate court K.T. asked the probate court magistrate to appoint counsel to represent her because she was indigent. The probate court stayed the matter and then, in October 2021, determined that K.T. was indigent. In April 2022, Relators filed this complaint alleging that the probate court's stay to allow K.T. to apply for indigent representation was unreasonable and unconscionable. The Supreme Court granted a writ and ordered the probate court to appoint counsel for K.T. within thirty days of this decision, holding that the probate court should take all reasonable steps to identify potential counsel. View "State ex rel. T.B. v. Mackey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing Appellant's petition for a writ of prohibition against Geauga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Carolyn J. Paschke, holding that the court of appeals properly dismissed the petition under Civ.R. 12(B)(6).Appellant, a defendant in a divorce case pending before Judge Paschke, brought this petition alleging that Judge Paschke's procedure for issuing orders in his case violated Civ.R. 53 and seeking a writ of prohibition restraining the judge from issuing entires in violation of Civ.R. 53. The court of appeals dismissed the petition for failure to state a valid claim for relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because the petition was based on an alleged error in Judge Paschke's exercise of jurisdiction and not a lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, prohibition was not an appropriate remedy. View "State ex rel. Jones v. Paschke" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals denying Grandparents' motion for reconsideration of the judgment of the court of appeals ruling that, under In re Adoption of B.I., 131 N.E.3d 28, Father's reliance on a no-contact order constituted justifiable cause for his having had no contact with his children, holding that there was no error.Father, the biological father of A.K. and C.K., was convicted of murdering the children's natural mother. The juvenile court gave custody of the children to their maternal grandparents, and the court's order stated that Father shall have no contact with the children. Grandparents later filed petitions to adopt the children. At issue was whether the need to obtain Father's consent was extinguished under Ohio Rev. Code 3107.07(A). The probate court determined that Father's consent was not required. The court of appeals ultimately reversed based on this Court's intervening decision in B.I. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, in order for the adoption proceedings to go forward, Father's consent was required. View "In re Adoption of A.K." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals granting a writ of prohibition preventing the order of a court of common pleas judge restoring Appellant's firearms rights from being effective, holding that a writ of prohibition was warranted.Appellant was convicted of a crime in Ohio that prohibited him, under federal law, to possess a firearm unless Appellant had his civil rights restored under Ohio law, 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(33)(B)(ii). Appellant filed an application for relief from his federal firearms disability, and Judge Peeler, a Warren County Court of Common Pleas Judge, granted the application. Appellee, Appellant's ex-wife, sought a writ of prohibition seeking to prevent Judge Peeler's order from being effective. The court of appeals granted the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellee established the necessary elements for a writ of prohibition. View "State ex rel. Suwalksi v. Peeler" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals to the extent it determined that an order of the domestic relations court had improperly modified a divorce decree and was void, holding that any error in the domestic relations court in exercising its jurisdiction in violation of Ohio Rev. Code 3105.171(I) rendered the order voidable, not void.Appellee moved to vacate an order adopted by the domestic relations court that set forth how his federal retirement benefits would be shared with Appellant, his former spouse, asserting that the order had improperly modified the divorce decree's division of marital property. The domestic relations court denied the motion to vacate. The court of appeals reversed in part, concluding that the domestic relations court lacked jurisdiction to modify the divorce decree. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals erred in determining that the order in this case was void because it modified the prior divorce decree. Rather, the error in the exercise of the court's subject-matter jurisdiction rendered the error voidable, not void ab initio. View "Ostanek v. Ostanek" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that Ohio Rev. Code 2151.352 is unconstitutionally underinclusive as applied to indigent parents facing the loss of their parental rights in probate court and that indigent parents are entitled to counsel in adoption proceedings in probate court as a matter of equal protection of the law under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Ohio Const. art. I, 2.Petitioners filed petitions in the probate court to adopt Mother's two children. Mother filed a request for appointed counsel, which the probate court denied. The court of appeals affirmed the denial of Mother's request for appointed counsel, concluding that equal protection and due process guarantees are inapplicable to requests for appointed counsel in adoption causes brought by private petitioners. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the disparate treatment between indigent parents faced with losing parental rights in a custody proceeding in juvenile court, who are entitled to appointed counsel, and indigent parents faced with losing parental rights in an adoption proceeding in probate court, who are not entitled to appointed counsel, violates equal protection guarantees. View "In re Adoption of Y.E.F." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the court of common pleas, juvenile division, which granted permanent custody of A.M. to the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services (Department), holding that the juvenile court complied with Ohio Rev. Code 2151.414(D)(1).At issue was the statutory requirement that juvenile courts consider the factors set forth in Ohio Rev. Code 2151.414(D)(1) for determining a child's best interest before granting a motion filed by a private child-placing agency or a public children-services agency for permanent custody of that child. The magistrate in this case granted the Department permanent custody of A.M., finding that A.M. should not be placed with either parent and that an award of permanent custody to the Department was in A.M.'s best interest. The juvenile court adopted the magistrate's decision. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 2151.414(D)(1) requires a juvenile court to consider all relevant factors in determining the best interest of a child in a permanent custody case; and (2) the record demonstrated that the magistrate and the juvenile court considered the statutory factors. View "In re A.M." on Justia Law