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Emergency Custody Orders in Franklin County Ohio

Emergency Custody Orders in Columbus OhioOur Ohio Family Law Attorneys are often asked how easy or hard it is to get emergency custody.   In Franklin County (Columbus), as in most Ohio Counties, the procedure for obtaining Emergency Custody Orders is governed by both state law and the local rules of court.  This article talks about Franklin County’s Local Rules regarding emergency custody.
Franklin County Local Rule 13 says:

Franklin County Domestic Relations Rule 13(E):

(E)     Post-decree motions requesting ex parte orders that affect children are discouraged.  However, the court will issue such orders only where it is shown that irreparable harm will occur to the child unless immediate action is taken, and the moving party has also filed and scheduled for hearing a motion requesting the reallocation of parental rights and responsibilities.  Such motions for ex parte orders shall have supporting affidavits that clearly delineate the expected harm. Any ex parte order for a change in the residential parent status shall include a provision for immediate notice of the ex parte order to the legal custodian or the residential parent.

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Note that we have put certain portions of the rule in bold.  That is because these things are essential to understanding the rule and how it work in Franklin County.


This rule specifically addresses post-decree matters.  The court does not want people to try to fast-track a change of custody by fabricating or exaggerating an emergency.  This rule also applies to parents who have already had a divorce, dissolution, annulment or legal separation case.  Never married parents would not be filing their paperwork in domestic relations court, and this is a local rule for domestic relations court only.  However, for unmarried parents filing emergency custody motions in Juvenile Court in Franklin County, the Juvenile Court Judges are the same Judges that preside over Domestic Relations Court.  Their perspective on emergencies tends to be similar in both domestic relations cases and juvenile cases.

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There are a couple of important things to note about this portion of the rule.  First, the phrase “irreparable harm”: this means that harm which cannot be undone.  Second, but just as important, is the phrase “will occur”.  Not may occur, not I fear will occur, but WILL OCCUR.  Harm is certain, and harm is unable to be repaired.  Now, you have to use some common sense here.  This does not mean that a broken arm is no big deal because it will heal.  But it has to be real harm to the child.  So thing like “my child wants to go to school in my district but my ex won’t agree and school is about to start” is NOT going to be considered an emergency in Franklin County, Ohio.

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In addition to filing your Motion for Emergency Custody (Ex Parte), the court wants AFFIDAVITS.  These are sworn statements, not just a letter.  They want you to make your statement under oath, so that you are subject to penalty of perjury for making false statements.  Affidavits have to be notarized.

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Clearly delineate: this means your affidavit have to state clearly what it is you are afraid will happen to the child.  Expected harm means not just feared harm, but what you think WILL happen if the court does not give you an emergency custody order.


The court expects you to be able to give immediate notice to the residential parent, with no monkeying around.  If you have their current address, the court expects you to give it, not use an address that you know is an old address to delay things.  Such behavior definitely detracts from the credibility of the person seeking the emergency custody order.  If the residential parent challenges the order, and gives credible testimony to the court that you deceived them to get custody, your long term goal of obtaining custody may be shot down before it begins.

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If you would like to talk to one of our Ohio Family Law Attorneys about emergency custody, give us a call at (614) 225-9316.

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Supervised Visitation in Ohio

Supervised Vistation Emergency Custody OhioAs Columbus Ohio family law attorneys, we are often asked about supervised visitation.  We are asked questions such as:

  • What is supervised visitation?
  • Who supervises the Visitation?
  • Can the County supervise the Visitation?
  • Can one parent or the other supervise the Visitation?
  • Can relatives, aunts, uncles or grandparents supervise the Visitation?
  • Are there places you can go where they are paid to supervise the Visitation?

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What is supervised visitation?

When the Court has concerns that a parent might make unsafe choices or the child does not know the parent, the Court may order supervised visitation.  This can happen in many kinds of court cases, such as custody, visitation, shared parenting, father’s rights / paternity cases, grandparent custody or visitation cases, divorce, legal separation, post-decree matters, emergency custody situations, and abuse/neglect/dependency cases.

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Who supervises the Visitation?

Court ordered supervision can be done by any person the Court deems fit, by the County, or by a private facility.

Can the County supervise the Visitation in Ohio?

The County can only supervise visits in abuse/neglect/dependency cases.  According to Ohio Law, the Courts cannot order the County to oversee the visit in any other type of case.

Can one parent or the other supervise the Visitation?

Yes, if the Court allows it.  This is most often done when one parent has been excluded or has not been involved in the Child’s life and the Court wants to allow the Child a little time to get more comfortable with the Parent.  This arrangement is usually short-lived.  Courts do not usually order one parent to supervise on a long term basis, unless both parents agree to this.

Can relatives, aunts, uncles or grandparents supervise the Visitation?

Yes, but Ohio courts will not usually require a person to do this unless he or she is willing to do so.

Are there places you can go where they are paid to supervise the Visitation?

There are businesses who do this for a fee.  Usually, but not always, the Court orders the Parent to be supervised to pay the fee.  Here is a link to a directory of places that provide this service in Ohio.  In Franklin County, there are several places that provide supervised visitation, including Welcome to Our Place and the Buckeye Ranch.

Do you have more questions about supervised visitation, but you are not sure if you need an attorney?  Maybe our FAQ page will help.   If you would like to meet with one of the attorneys from our office, call us at 614-225-9316.

CALL NOW  (614) 225-9316 or contact us by e-mail.

You may also be interested in some of our divorce articles:

DISCLAIMER – Read it, it’s important!

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10 things you need to know about the UCCJA / U.C.C.J.A. , UCCJEA / U.C.C.J.E.A. , the PKPA / P.K.P.A. , emergency custody jurisdiction, and interstate custody jurisdiction

A Columbus Ohio Custody Lawyer article re child custody jurisdiction AND UCCJEA.
  1. Most U.S. States have now adopted statutes which make the UCCJEA ( Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act ) the law regarding custody jurisdiction in their state.
  2. Most states have now repealed UCCJA, ( Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act ).
  3. Federal law trumps state law.
  4. The PKPA ( Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act ) is a federal law.
  5. The PKPA says that jurisdiction to make an initial (first) custody determination must be made in the child’s home state, unless the child has no home state.
  6. The term “home state” is legally defined in the PKPA and the UCCJEA.
  7. The PKPA also says that if a child has a home state, and a state which is not the child’s home state makes an initial custody determination, that custody determination is NOT entitled to full faith and credit in other states.  That means that other states do not have to honor that custody determination because it violates federal law.  (Remember, federal law trumps state law.)
  8. The UCCJA used to cause a lot of problems because it had a loophole which allowed parents to compete over whether the child’s home state should have jurisdiction, or whether a state that has “significant connections” should have jurisdiction over an initial custody determination.  This was a contradiction with the requirements of federal law (PKPA).  Remember, federal law trumps state law.  So the UCCJEA was enacted and adopted as law in most states, closing the loophole.  Home state jurisdiction wins, but only for an INITIAL custody determination.  Modifications are different.
  9. Jurisdiction under the UCCJEA is SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION, and can never be waived.  It can be raised for the first time on appeal.  Just because a state has or obtains PERSONAL JURISDICTION over a person, does not mean that the state has SUBJECT MATTER JURISDICTION to make an initial custody determination.
  10. Any state can still exercise EMERGENCY custody jurisdiction over a child, even if it is not the child’s home study.  Emergency jurisdiction is different.