Can I file my own court papers, and, if so, how?

You may file your own papers; however, we recommend you contact an attorney through the Akron Bar Association, (330) 253-5038, or Community Legal Aid Services, (330) 535-4191. If you desire to file your own pleadings, you may check the court web site, www.drcourt.org , the public library, or bookstores for model forms. (These forms are not very useful if you have children or property such as real estate, pensions, etc.) Court personnel cannot provide legal advice. However, we will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding court procedures.


Where is the court?

The court is located in the annex to the Summit County Courthouse. The entrance is located on Broadway Street. The Court is located on the second floor. There is a parking deck on Broadway across from the courthouse. The parking deck is north of Inventure Place and south of the Quaker Square Inn Hotel, on the same side of the street. Click here for a map.


When is my hearing?

Please contact the Clerk’s office at 330-643-2201 or the Domestic Relations Court assignment clerk at 330-643-2366 or 330-643-2368.


Where is the Remember the Children program?

Remember the Children program is held on the second floor – Ceremonial Courtroom at the Domestic Relations. Click here for a schedule of dates for the program. Parking is available in the Akron Health Department / Morley Health Center Parking deck on Broadway Street. For information on program content, etc., call the Court’s Family Court Services Department at 643-2355.


When will I receive a decision after a hearing?

Magistrate’s Decisions are prepared and filed with the Clerk of Courts normally within thirty days. Temporary orders should be completed within one week of your hearing. It may take longer, if the attorneys are responsible for preparing an Agreed Judgment Entry. The Court mails copies of the decisions to your attorney or directly to the party, if you do not have an attorney. Does the Court have your correct address?


How do I enforce a court order?

The proceeding is called “contempt”. A Contempt Motion, an Affidavit stating specific facts as to the contempt, and an Order to Show Cause must filed together. If you wish to enforce a child or spousal support order, you may also contact the CSEA at 643- 2765. The Court mails copies of all support orders to CSEA which send notices to Obligor’s employer to withhold wages. If you do not wish to file a Contempt Motion, you may file a written Motion with the court to enforce whatever part of the order you wish to have enforced. If you need to enforce a Court Order with respect to transferring license plates or to transfer title of a home, you may file a Motion, Affidavit, and Order and attach a copy of the original Order.


What can I do if I change my mind about a domestic violence case?

If you are the Petitioner, and the second hearing has not been held, you may appear at the hearing and tell the Magistrate that you want to dismiss your case.

If there has been a second hearing, and the Civil Protection Order (CPO) has been issued, you will need to file a written Motion to Terminate the Civil Protection order. When you file the Motion, a hearing must be scheduled. At the hearing, the CPO may be terminated if the Magistrate determines that the conditions in the CPO have been met.


I am not getting my child support. What can I do?

The first step is to call CSEA, (330) 643-2765, and determine whether a wage assignment is in effect. If the person paying support (obligor) has changed jobs you may be able to help CSEA if you can provide the obligor’s new place of employment. If the obligor is self-employed, you may file a contempt motion to enforce the support obligation.


I have questions about my court decision. Who can I talk to?

What are the questions you have?

The rules of the Ohio Supreme Court prohibit a Judge or Magistrate from discussing a decision with one party unless the other party is present or has been notified of a hearing and does not attend the hearing.

If you think a Magistrate’s Decision is incorrect or unfair your attorney or you may file an objection within fourteen (14) days of the time-stamped date of the Decision. If you are unhappy with a Magistrate’s Order, your attorney or you may file a Motion to Set Aside the Magistrate’s Order within ten (10) days of the time-stamped date of the Order.

If you do not agree with a judge’s final decision, your attorney can file an appeal to the Ninth District Court of Appeals. These procedures have technical, procedural, and time requirements. It is important that you consult with an attorney concerning your legal rights.


If we have shared parenting, why do I have to pay child support?

The purpose of child support in shared parenting cases is two fold. First, child support is for the child and is to reduce the impact on the child of any great disparity in income between the parents. Children who have lived according to one standard of living should not, because of a divorce or dissolution, have to live in one “rich” house and one “poor” house.

Second, by assigning one parent the primary responsibility for providing for the material needs of the child, the court hopes to reduce conflict between the parents over the needs of the child.

Child support schedules are set to meet children’s expenses in proportion to their parent’s income.

The court may deviate from the Child Support Guidelines if there are specific facts which justify a deviation. For example: spending considerable time with your children, disparate income or unusual expenses. You may file a Motion asking the Court to deviate from the Child Support Guidelines and at the hearing you must give specific facts. Please see the Ohio Revised Code.


My child is in immediate danger with the other parent. What can I do?

If your child is in immediate danger of physical harm or death, contact your local police department. If there is physical, sexual, or mental abuse, the Summit County Children Services Board must be contacted.

Contact an attorney or file an emergency or ex parte Motion and Order with an Affidavit stating the specific facts.

You may also file a Motion to suspend or change the other party’s parenting time.

If there is physical or mental abuse, the Summit County Children Services Board must be contacted.


The other parent is wrongfully withholding the child.

If you are in Summit County, you may contact the sheriff’s department. You will need to show the sheriff a copy of your divorce or dissolution decree which states you are the residential parent and legal custodian of the child.

You may need to get an ex parte order from the court. You need to file an ex parte motion and affidavit stating the facts with the clerk of courts and then come to court for an ex parte hearing.

You may also file a contempt motion with an affidavit to seek enforcement of your current order.


I have a child related problem, i.e. transportation, visitation, extracurricular activities

If you have a problem with your present visitation schedule, you may complete a form for an Informal Proceeding to discuss minor changes with the Court’s Family Court Services Department. (Local Rule 26.02, page 20) An Informal Proceeding is a free service offered by the court to help parents resolved minor problems. It is a voluntary mediation process. You may ask for an Informal Proceeding once every twelve months.


What is mediation?

Mediation is a confidential process that includes both parents and a neutral trained professional, designed to help parents come to agreements on the children’s issues in a divorce or parentage case. The mediator helps parents to communicate and resolve issues about custody and parenting time. The in-house mediators at our court only deal with the children’s issues, not with financial issues. Summit County has a number of attorney mediators in the community who can assist couples with the financial issues as well.

The mediation is confidential, meaning that nothing that is discussed in the mediation meeting can be testified to in court, and the mediator cannot be called a witness. The exceptions to this rule are: (1 the mediator is lead to believe that a child is being abused or neglected; (2 the mediator is lead to believe that a party is going to harm themselves, harm the other party, or harm a 3rd party; (3 the party is planning to commit, or in the process of committing a felony, and shares that knowledge with the mediator.

If parties come to an agreement, the mediator writes out a Memorandum of Understanding of the issues the parties agree on. That MOU is then submitted to the court or to the attorneys for the parties. The parties also receive a copy.


Why is mediation important?

  • Cost— The Court’s In-House mediation programs are covered by your filing fees. While an outside mediator may charge a fee comparable to that of an attorney, the mediation process generally takes much less time than moving a case through standard legal channels. While a case in the hands of a lawyer or a court may take months or years to resolve, mediation usually achieves a resolution in a matter of hours. Taking less time means expending less money on hourly fees and costs.
  • Confidentiality—While court hearings are public, mediation remains strictly confidential. No one but the parties to the dispute and the mediator(s) know what happened. Confidentiality in mediation has such importance that in most cases the legal system cannot force a mediator to testify in court as to the content or progress of mediation. Many mediators destroy their notes taken during a mediation once that mediation has finished. The only exceptions to such strict confidentiality usually involve child abuse or actual or threatened criminal acts.
  • Control—Mediation increases the control the parties have over the resolution. In a court case, the parties obtain a resolution, but control resides with the judge or jury. Often, a judge or jury cannot legally provide solutions that emerge in mediation. Thus, mediation is more likely to produce a result that is mutually agreeable for the parties.
  • Compliance—Because the result is attained by the parties working together and is mutually agreeable, compliance with the mediated agreement is usually high. This further reduces costs, because the parties do not have to employ an attorney to force compliance with the agreement. The mediated agreement is, however, fully enforceable in a court of law.
  • Mutuality—Parties to a mediation are typically ready to work mutually toward a resolution. In most circumstances the mere fact that parties are willing to mediate means that they are ready to “move” their position. The parties thus are more amenable to understanding the other party’s side and work on underlying issues to the dispute. This has the added benefit of often preserving the relationship the parties had before the dispute.
  • Support—Mediators are trained in working with difficult situations. The mediator acts as a neutral facilitator and guides the parties through the process. The mediator helps the parties think “outside of the box” for possible solutions to the dispute, broadening the range of possible solutions.