Rule 17: Parenting and Visitation Proceedings

(A) Ex Parte Orders. No ex parte orders of parenting or visitation shall be granted except where appropriate under the provisions of D.D.R. Local Rule 26.

(B) Referral to Family Conciliation Service [nka FES].

     (1) Any referral to Family Conciliation Service [nka FES] shall be made at the discretion of the assigned judge upon motion of any party, the Court's own motion, or the recommendation of a magistrate. Costs for services rendered by Family Conciliation Service [nka FES] shall be adjudged against one or more of the parties after consideration of their respective ability to pay. No referral to Family Conciliation Service [nka FES] shall be refused due to the inability of any party to pay for such services.

     (2) Family Conciliation Service [nka FES] does not provide mediation services under O.R.C. 3109.052. Conciliators are not mediators as that term is used in O.R.C. 3109.052. Therefore, the rules governing the conduct of the mediation procedure, the content of mediation reports or any other aspect of the mediation process do not apply to conciliators.

     (3) If a report is prepared by Family Conciliation Service [nka FES], it shall be maintained in a separate file and not be made part of the Court file unless admitted into evidence at time of hearing.

Upon completion of the report all attorneys of record, or any party not represented, shall be notified of the availability of such report for review. Any represented party shall not be permitted to review the report. Such review shall take place at any time in the offices of Family Conciliation Service [nka FES]. Upon reviewing the report, each attorney or unrepresented party shall be required to sign an acknowledgment that such review occurred.

Upon request of an attorney of record or any unrepresented party, a copy of the report shall be made available. Such copies shall be obtained at the office of Family Conciliation Service [nka FES], except that where the parenting and/or visitation issues have been resolved through conciliation or where the parties have been referred to Family Conciliation Service [nka FES] for marital evaluation, a copy of any report resulting therefrom shall be forwarded to all parties, or their attorney of record.

The report shall be forwarded to the judge or magistrate hearing the parenting/ visitation issue after all attorneys of record have reviewed it or two business days prior to the scheduled hearing date, whichever is earlier. Any party desiring the presence of a conciliator at hearing may issue a subpoena therefor or the conciliator can be required to appear at the direction of the Court.

(C) Referral to Investigation Department.

     (1) Any referral to the Investigation Department shall be made at the discretion of the assigned judge upon motion of any party, the Court's own motion, or the recommendation of a magistrate.

     (2) The investigator's report shall be maintained in a separate file and not be made part of the Court file unless admitted into evidence at time of hearing. Upon completion of the report all attorneys of record, or any party not represented shall be notified of the availability of such report for review. Any represented party shall not be permitted to review the report. Such review shall take place in the offices of the Investigation Department. Upon reviewing the report, each attorney or unrepresented party shall be required to sign an acknowledgment that such review occurred. Upon request of any attorney of record or any unrepresented party, a copy of the report shall be made available at the offices of the Investigation Department.

The report shall be forwarded to the judge or magistrate hearing the parenting/ visitation issue after all attorneys of record have reviewed it or two business days prior to the scheduled hearing date, whichever is earlier. Any party desiring the presence of an investigator at hearing may issue a subpoena therefor or the investigator can be required to appear at the direction of the Court.

(D) Modification of Parenting Order.

     (1) Any request for a modification of an existing parenting order shall be by motion. The motion shall set forth the last order of parenting, the reasons for requesting the change, and the names and present ages of the child(ren) and shall be supported by an affidavit setting forth the specific facts on which said motion is based. A Parenting Proceeding Affidavit shall also accompany the motion pursuant to O.R.C.3127.23.

     (2) The first hearing held on any motion to modify a parenting order shall be considered a pretrial conference, unless otherwise directed by the assigned judge. D.D.R. Rules 11 (B) and (C) and 12(B) shall apply to any proceeding modifying an allocation of parental rights and responsibilities unless such modification is being made pursuant to subsection (5) of this Rule.

     (3) Any order modifying an allocation of parental rights and responsibilities shall also adjust child support obligations and visitation rights to the parent not the residential parent.

     (4) Any person who is not already a party who is seeking an allocation of parental rights and responsibilities for the care of a child must file and have granted a motion to intervene prior to filing a motion requesting such allocation.The motion to intervene shall be granted ex parte unless it is determined by the assigned judge that such motion should be set for hearing.

     (5) If the modification of a prior parenting order is pursuant to agreement of the parties:

          (a) The parties shall file an “Agreed Motion to Modify Parenting Order”, supported by affidavits of both parents and (if applicable) of any third party seeking to become the “legal custodian” of a child and to have the rights and responsibilities for the care of a child allocated primarily to him/her.

          (b) The following documents shall accompany the agreed motion and constitute an "agreed motion package"

               (1) Parenting Proceeding Affidavits (O.R.C. 3127.23) (one (1) completed by each party);

               (2) An Agreed Judgment Entry granting the motion to modify, complying with subsection (c) hereof, and if applicable, ordering a joinder of a third party to whom the rights and responsibilities for the care of a child are being primarily allocated;

               (3) An Order to Terminate Child Support, if applicable;

               (4) An Order to Post Bond, or Order to Seek Work and Report if applicable (i.e., where no attachable income source exists);

               (5) A Health Insurance Investigative Form;

               (6) Proof of compliance with Local Rule 34.

          (c) The Agreed Judgment Entry shall address and include all of the following:

               (1) The allocation of rights and responsibilities for the care of the child(ren), designating the residential parent and legal custodian;

               (2) A finding as to the best interest of the child;

               (3) Child Support, with the appropriate computation worksheet attached (with a waiver for any deviation therefrom) (NOTE: If a third party is to be made "legal custodian", the worksheet must be completed using incomes of both parents and the orders required in subsection (b) hereof must be the appropriate orders on each parent);

               (4) Disposition of arrearages and/or credits;

               (5) Health insurance;

               (6) Visitation, with specific provisions for regular, holiday, vacation, and special visitation (the parties may attach as an exhibit and incorporate by reference the Court's Standard Visitation Guidelines);

               (7) The present residence and mailing address, Social Security numbers, and birth dates of the parties, and the identity and address of the obligor's income source;

               (8) An order for the residential parent to file notice of relocation in accordance with O.R.C. 3109.051(G);

          (d) If the agreed motion contains a request for shared parenting between the two parents, the "Agreed Motion Package" shall also include the plan for shared parenting.

          (e) Procedure: The agreed motion with all the appropriate judgment entries and other documents attached shall be filed. The "Agreed Motion Package" will be given a motion number and forwarded to the assigned judge. If all the required information and documents are provided, the judge may, in his/her discretion, rule on the agreed motion and approve the modification on the pleadings and affidavits alone. Alternatively, the judge may set the matter for hearing. No child shall be present at hearing unless the judge directs otherwise.

     (6) Waiver to Probate Court.

          (a) This Court will not entertain a motion to waive jurisdiction to Probate Court when the applicant for custody is a relative.

          (b) Where this court has continuing jurisdiction over the matter of a child's custody, and the parties agree that it would be in the best interest of the child that guardianship be awarded to a third party who is not a relative, the parents must file with this Court an agreed motion to waive jurisdiction to Probate Court for the purpose of commencing guardianship proceedings. The motion shall be accompanied by affidavits of consent.

          (c) If the whereabouts of one parent is not known, then the affidavit of the parent bringing the motion must set forth that fact as well as facts indicating what efforts were made to locate the absent parent.

          (d) The motion to waive jurisdiction shall be accompanied by an agreement as to the terms for support of the minor child. This Court will retain jurisdiction to enforce the support agreement.

(E) Modification of Visitation/Companionship Order. Any request for modification of an existing visitation/companionship order shall be by motion. The motion shall set forth the specific language of the last order of visitation/companionship, the date of such order, the specific changes requested and the reasons for requesting the changes. The motion shall be supported by an affidavit setting forth the specific facts on which said motion is based.

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