Local Rule 1.4

 

DOMESTIC RELATIONS CASE FLOW MANAGEMENT PROCEDURE

 

 

1.4 (A) Purpose.  In compliance with the Rules of Superintendence for Courts of Common Pleas and for the purpose of maintaining and improving the timely disposition of domestic relations cases, the following case‑flow management procedure is being adopted. It is not intended that this rule supersede any present rule, but only that it spell out the duties and responsibilities of counsel and the case management procedure.

 

1.4 (B) Active Cases.  All active cases shall be indexed by case number on the court's docket. Each active case shall also be periodically reviewed. The periodic review shall include review of deadline dates established by time limitations taken from the court's rules for proof or failure of service, pretrial hearings, motion responses, hearing dates, objections to magistrate’s decisions, preparation of entries, filing of entries, and case inactivity.

 

1.4 (C) Complaints.  After the complaint is filed, service of summons shall be checked in thirty days. If service is complete and no answer has been filed, the case shall be assigned before the magistrate for an uncontested action.

If service is incomplete, notice shall be served on plaintiff's counsel directing that unless service is obtained, the case will be dismissed. If after fourteen (14) days no effort has been made to obtain service, the case shall be dismissed.

Counsel of record shall be notified of any complaint that has been dormant for three months. If, after notification to counsel of record, the case file reflects nothing has been done or no pending court date has been set, the case may be dismissed by the court without prejudice.

 

1.4 (D) Temporary Orders.  If temporary orders are sought, the parties shall submit the general information, financial affidavits and child support guidelines worksheets with their initial pleadings.  At the time of filing a party’s respective pleading, it is not necessary for the parties to file general information, financial affidavits, and child support guidelines worksheets in cases in which temporary orders are not sought.  However, in the event a plaintiff does not seek temporary orders, but a defendant requests them, the plaintiff shall have the opportunity to respond by filing the appropriate informational documents within fourteen (14) days after the service of defendant’s “Proposal for Temporary Orders” and accompanying documents.  In all cases in which temporary orders are being requested, the court form “Proposal for Temporary Orders” shall also be filed by each party wishing to state a position concerning temporary orders, which will then be considered in drafting the temporary orders, covering temporary custody, child support and/or spousal support.  Collateral matters which the parties wish for the court to consider in the temporary orders (i.e. exclusive use of the marital home, other property, autos, bank accounts, etc.) must be specifically requested in that party’s proposal with sufficient reasons to enable the court to properly draft equitable temporary orders.  If fourteen (14) days have elapsed from the service of an affidavit and no response has been filed, the party requesting the temporary order shall notify the court’s domestic relations case manager, and the court shall enter a temporary order based upon the affidavits filed.  The party requesting the temporary order may submit a proposed temporary order for the court’s consideration at that time.

Temporary orders shall be determined based upon the affidavits filed by the parties.  Either party may file a written request for oral hearing seeking modification of the temporary order.  The oral hearing will be before the magistrate.  Such written requests for oral hearings seeking modification of temporary orders which are made more than fourteen (14) days after the filing of the temporary orders must be based upon a change of circumstances relating to facts contained within the initial affidavits, which facts were not reasonably known to or anticipated by the parties at the time the affidavits were filed.  Written requests for oral hearings seeking modification of temporary orders shall specify with particularity each of the following items:

1.      The specific portions of the temporary order to which the party objects; and

2.      The specific reasons for the objection to each such portion of the temporary order; and

3.      The specific modifications to the temporary order which the objecting party suggests that the court adopt.

          Within ten (10) days after the filing of a request for oral hearing seeking modification of a temporary order, any other party to the case may file such a request of her or his own, specifying with particularity the specific portions of the order to which the party objects, and the specific modifications to the temporary order suggested by such objecting party. 

          Within twenty-eight (28) days of the timely filing of a request for oral hearing seeking modification of a temporary order, the court will conduct the oral hearing.  The oral hearing will ordinarily be scheduled for one-half hour, but if a party deems that time insufficient, that party shall notify the domestic relations case manager of the court as soon as possible that he/she believes more time is necessary.  If the court calendar reasonably permits, more time may be scheduled.

          The parties are not required to present evidence at the oral hearing, but they may do so, within the sound discretion of the court.

          All parties must attend the oral hearing unless excused by the court for good cause.

          The only matters in the temporary order which will be reconsidered at the oral hearing are those which are specified with particularity in a party’s timely filed request for oral hearing.  No evidence or arguments will be permitted and no modifications will be made concerning matters not specified with particularity in the request for oral hearing.

          The policy of this rule is for parties and their counsel to be thorough and diligent in the preparation of all pleadings, temporary order requests, affidavits, and requests for oral hearing seeking modification of temporary orders.  The fact that an oral hearing is available is no substitute for proper preparation of the documents that are filed initially in the case.  Matters not raised appropriately in the initial pleadings, temporary order requests, affidavits, and requests for oral hearing seeking modification of temporary orders, ordinarily will not be considered at the oral hearing concerning modification of temporary orders.

          The oral hearing concerning modification of temporary orders is not for the purpose of allowing parties to bolster deficient or incomplete initial filings.

 

1.4 (E) Status Conferences, Pre-Trial Conferences and Disclosure.  After an answer is filed, the case will be scheduled for an early case management status conference before the magistrate.  Attorneys may be present in person or by telephone, and clients must be available to the attorneys in person or by telephone.  The case management status conference will deal with preliminary matters such as setting discovery deadlines, setting an initial pre-trial, arranging for appraisals, a guardian ad litem, possible mediation, the need for counseling or conciliation, identification of disputed and undisputed issues, discussion of discovery issues, and other appropriate matters.

          All contested cases will be pre-tried unless a pre-trial is waived by all parties.  Pre-trials will be before the magistrate and all parties and counsel are to be present unless excused for cause.  In appropriate cases, the court may have more than one pre-trial, if directed by the magistrate.  If appropriate, guardian ad litem reports and status conferences will be combined by the court with a pre-trial or case management status conference.

          Ordinarily, post-decree motions will be pre-tried unless they are not contested, in which case the initial hearing date may be considered a final hearing on such motions if the court deems it appropriate.  A notice of the following effect should be included with such post-decree motions:

The hearing scheduled on the above motion will be considered a pre-trial conference before the court, rather than a hearing on the merits, unless the party against whom the motion is brought does not appear at the hearing and does not file an objection to the requested relief, and if no such appearance or objection is made, the court may proceed to the merits of the motion at the scheduled hearing.

          The parties are requested to file and exchange pre-trial statements no later than the day of the pre-trial.  If the circumstances at the subsequent pre-trial are similar to those in a prior pre-trial, no supplemental pre-trial statement is required, but if the circumstances appropriately call for one, one may be filed by any party.  (See appendix of this Local Court Rule for a suggested form with marital asset/debt valuation sheet attached.)

          At pre-trials, the court and counsel will discuss appropriate matters including trying to narrow the issues in controversy, possible stipulations as to authenticity of documents, exchange of expert and other reports and records, exchange of appraisals, stipulations as to values and amounts, any remaining issues of asset valuation and liability amounts, issues relating to the division of household goods and furnishings and other assets, parenting issues, and possible settlement.  The court may make such pre-trial orders as it deems appropriate to aid in the disposition of the action.

          If appropriate, the court may also schedule a settlement conference before the magistrate at which the focus will be an effort to settle the case.

          If a contested case appears to be relatively uncomplicated, the court will schedule a pre-trial and final hearing date at the initial case management status conference.  If a contested case appears to be complex, the court will, at an appropriate pre-trial conference, attempt to schedule the case for final hearing on the merits.

          It is mandatory that the parties exchange with each other, as soon as is reasonably practicable after an answer is filed, all of the following:

1.      The identity of all pensions, profit sharing and retirement benefits, including IRA’s and the most recent summary; and

2.      Copies of all real estate deeds and vehicle titles and any appraisals intended by the parties to be used in the case; and

3.      Copies of the last three years income tax returns unless already in the possession of the other party; and

4.      Documentary proof of current income from all sources; and

5.      Copies of the most recent statements on all bank accounts, life insurance policies, mortgages, mutual funds, and other asset and debt accounts; and

6.      The identity and location of any safety deposit box; and

7.      The identity of all entities which hold assets in which either party has an interest, including but not limited to beneficial interests in trusts, and tangible and other personal property held for the benefit of a party.  Also, the identity of all such assets which are being held for the benefit of a party.

 

1.4 (F) Dissolutions.  Counsel of record or the parties shall be notified of any inactivity after sixty (60) days from the filing of the petition. Unless for good cause shown, the matter will be set for final hearing or dismissed within thirty (30) days.

 

1.4 (G) Post‑Decree Motions.  Post‑decree motions shall be brought to the domestic relations case manager for the magistrate before filing to be assigned a hearing date.

 

1.4 (H) Continuances.  Continuances shall not be granted orally and must be in writing. A request for continuance, before it is granted, shall contain the new date for hearing, the reason for the request, whether or not opposing counsel consents, and must be approved by the magistrate before being submitted to the judge.

 

1.4 (I) Magistrate’s Decision.  After a hearing, a decision shall be approved by the magistrate before being submitted to the court with the judgment entry.  If any party makes a request for findings of fact and conclusions of law or findings and conclusions are otherwise required by law, the magistrate’s decision shall include findings of fact and conclusions of law. Counsel and/or party have fourteen (14) days in which to object to the decision. Upon objections being filed, the judgment shall be automatically stayed. The report shall be reviewed by the judge, and if no changes are necessary, an entry shall be issued stating that the decision is approved as written. If changes are necessary, an amended entry shall be issued.

 

1.4 (J) Judgment Entries. 

1.      In actions where the parties have resolved the matter by agreement prior to magistrate hearing, the parties shall reduce their agreement to writing and shall submit their written MEMO entry to the court.  A formal entry shall be submitted and signed by the parties within fifteen (15) days after the memo entry for the judge and magistrate to sign. Failure to comply with this rule will result in a fourteen (14) day notice to dismiss. Upon no response within the additional fourteen (14) days, the court will dismiss the motion.

2.      Orders for child support shall be stated in terms of a monthly amount payable weekly, bi‑weekly, semi‑monthly, or whenever the payer is paid. The entry shall also require one or both of the parties to maintain health insurance for the children and the amount for extraordinary medical, dental, optical, etc., shall be included. The entry shall also provide for the child support, and/or spousal support to be paid through the Ohio Child Support Payment Central with the appropriate processing fees included by wage withholding.

 

1.4 (K) Copies.  Counsel shall prepare for use by the child support enforcement agency one copy of each judgment entry filed with the clerk.

 

 

(Effective June 14, 2002)

(Revised December 31, 2008)

(Revised September 2, 2009)

(Revised November 4, 2009)