Frequently Asked Questions by Pro Se Litigants in Juvenile Court
If I am the mother of a child, and I am not married to the father, who has custody of the child?

Answer:  Ohio Law provides that “an unmarried female who gives birth to a child is the sole residential parent and legal custodian of the child until a court of competent jurisdiction (i.e., a Juvenile Court) issues an order designating another person as the residential parent and legal custodian.”  (Section 3109.042, Ohio Revised Code)

If I am the father of a child, and I have not been to Court, but the CSEA has established paternity and child support, how do I get to see my child?
AnswerEstablishing paternity and child support, does not grant you rights for visitation with your child.  You must file a case in the Juvenile Court in the County where your child resides to secure visitation rights.

How do I get a hearing in Juvenile Court?
Answer:  In order for you to have a hearing before a Judge or Magistrate, you must file a Complaint or Motion (legal name for a formal request) in the Court, asking for a hearing.  The Court will serve the other party (you will need their correct address) with a copy of the papers you file, and will schedule a hearing. The Court requires a deposit for court costs:  for a new case, the deposit is $163.00; for re-opening a case previously filed, the deposit is $116.00.

Can I just talk to the Judge about my problem?
Answer:  No, under the Canons (Rules) of Judicial Conduct, a Judge or Magistrate may not discuss a case with a party unless the other party is also present.  You will have to file the appropriate paperwork and secure a hearing (see #3 above).

Is there anyway other than a Court hearing for me and the other party to work out our problems?
Answer:  Yes.  The Court can refer a case to mediation, rather than scheduling a hearing.  The Mediator is a neutral third party, who does not decide the case, but who helps the parties reach their own agreement.  When you file your paperwork with the Court, you should ask for a referral to mediation rather than a hearing.  If the mediation is not successful, you can then ask for a hearing.

How is child support figured?
Answer:  Chapter 3119 of the Ohio Revised Code sets forth the law and procedure which applies to child support.  A Child Support Worksheet must be filed with any Court Order that requires child support.  If you need assistance in preparing the Worksheet, the Court can Order the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) to prepare the Worksheet.  If you want the CSEA to prepare a Worksheet, you should ask the Court to issue such an Order when you request the Court to schedule a hearing in your case.  Please allow up to 60 days for the CSEA to prepare the Worksheet.

If parents of a child agree on a Shared Parenting Plan, does that mean that there will be no child support?
Answer:  Not necessarily.  Even if the parents of the child have a 50/50 time-sharing schedule, the child support calculation must still take into consideration the amount of income of each of the parties as well as other factors.  Therefore, one of the parties in a shared parenting situation may still be required to pay child support.

Can a Clerk at the Court help me fill out forms?
Answer:  No.  Juvenile Court Clerks are prohibited by law from giving legal advice, so they cannot assist you in filling-out forms.  It is always better to hire an attorney, but if you are unable to do so, the Court may have “pro se” forms that you can use.  However, you will have to complete these forms without assistance from the Clerks.

The foregoing information is provided by the Sandusky County Bar Association to assist pro se litigants in Court proceedings.  It is not meant to provide or take the place of legal advice from an attorney.

Pro Se Complaint_10-16-08
Pro Se Motion_10-16-08
Pro Se Motion to continue_10-16-08
100 North Park Avenue

100 North Park Avenue, Suite 224 Fremont, Ohio 43420  |  (419) 334-6200 (Juvenile Phone)  |  (419) 334-6211 (Probate Phone)  |  (419) 334-6210 (Fax)