What types of cases are handled by the Domestic Relations Court?
The Domestic Relations Court hears divorce, dissolution of marriage, legal separations, annulments and civil domestic violence protection orders.
Where is the court?
The court is located in the Dayton-Montgomery County Courts Building, second floor, 301 W. Third Street in downtown Dayton. For directions to the court, click here Directions.
When one party doesn't follow the court order, how can I enforce my child support or health insurance order?
The way to bring any of these problems to the attention of the Court is file a motion to show cause. You have three means to file a motion to show cause:
- Seek the services of the attorney of your choice,
- Contact the Montgomery County Support Enforcement Agency (SEA) at (937) 225-4600, to request their agency service pursuant to the terms of Application for Child Support Services that you signed.
- File a motion to show cause on your own. The motion must refer to the specific court order that is being violated, and comply with Local Rule 4.42 in all aspects. An affidavit must be attached to the motion stating how and when the order was violated. After your motion is served on your former spouse, the motion will be set for hearing. You will be given a chance at the hearing to present your evidence to support your motion. However, please understand that you will be required to present this evidence according to the Ohio Rules of Evidence and all applicable state and local rules. We recommend that you hire an attorney to represent you in this kind of matter, because during a hearing, the Judge or Magistrate cannot help either you or your former spouse with presenting your case.
Who do I contact for help in choosing an attorney?
The Dayton Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service may be able to assist you in obtaining an attorney. For additional information, call their office at (937) 222-6102
I do not have money for a lawyer. Are there free lawyers? Can the Court appoint a lawyer for me?
You may call the Legal Aid Society of Dayton at (888) 534-1432, to see if you qualify for free legal representation.
You may call the Volunteers Lawyers Project at (937) 461-3857, to see if you qualify for free legal representation.
You may call the University of Dayton Law Clinic at (937) 229-3817, to see if you qualify for free legal representation.
- You may qualify for the services of the Public Defender. You may contact the Public Defenders Office at (937) 225-4652.
- Seek the services of the attorney of your choice.
If you are summoned to appear in court on a motion to show cause (contempt) brought by private attorney, for which you could be facing jail time:
- You may qualify for a court appointed attorney. You may contact the Court Services Officer at (937) 225-6055, to see if you qualify.
- Seek the services of any attorney of your choice.
Can I represent myself?
Most people are more satisfied with their court experience and results if they get an attorney. You can represent yourself. The term "pro-se" means that a person is representing himself. You have this right. However, you are held to the same legal knowledge of the law and procedures as an attorney is.
If you choose to represent yourself, all documents may be submitted to the Public Coordinator located in the lobby of the Montgomery County Courts Building prior to filing with the Clerk's of Courts. The Public Coordinator will review your documents and contact you regarding your next step.
How can I find out my hearing date?
The Court sends out notices for hearings by regular mail. If you are unsure of your hearing date, you may contact the Court's Assignment Office at (937) 225-4087. The Court will be able to look up the case by the case number assigned to the case. The Court may also be able locate a case by using the parties' last names, dates of birth or social security numbers.
When will I receive a decision after a hearing?
Every case brought before the Court requires individual attention. Court decisions and orders must weigh complex family issues and evidence presented, according to current legal requirements. Recognizing the significant impact of delays, decisions are prioritized to assure they are issued expeditiously and according to the needs presented.
How can I get a transcript of a hearing?
Contact the court's Court Reporter Department at (937) 225-4875 to request a transcript. Transcripts cost $3.95 per page. The total estimated cost must be paid before the transcript is typed.
Where can I get copies of my court papers?
From the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Office, Domestic Relations Division, located in Room 9, lower level of the Montgomery County Courts Building, 41 N. Perry Street. For additional information, call (937) 225-4562.
What is the mandatory parent education class, and how do I sign up for it?
All parents who file for divorce or dissolution of marriage and have children under the age of 18 must complete a class entitled "helping Children Succeed After Divorce" before their case will be granted. Judges and Magistrates have the option of sending parties to this class on post-decree parenting issues.
For additional information or to sign up for the class, call the Parent Education Department at (937) 225-4092. You may also register on-line at www.mcohio.org/dr. On the left of the screen select Parent Seminar Registration.
What do I have to do if I change employment?
If you are the obligor (the person who is ordered to pay support) you are required by law to notify the Montgomery County Support Enforcement Agency if you change employment. Also, if you are unemployed and have been placed under a seek work order, you must report any new employment immediately so that a wage deduction order can be issued. Call the court's Compliance Office at (937) 225-4782.
If you are the Obligor or Obligee and are required to carry the health insurance, you need to contact the court's Compliance Office at (937) 225-4782.
How can I get a civil protection order? Does it cost anything?
Seek the services of the attorney of your choice.
You may also apply for a Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order (DVCPO) pro-se. You must come in person to the court and speak with the Domestic Violence Public Coordinator. The office is located in the lobby of 301 W. Third Street, Second Floor, Dayton, Ohio. Filing hours for pro-se DVCPO are: Monday-Friday from 8:30 - 11:00 a.m. or 1:15 - 3:00 p.m. The filing process is generally two hours long and you must attend a hearing the day you file. You may contact the Domestic Violence Public Coordinator at (937) 496-6859, for further details.
The Ohio statue does not require a party to pay any deposit when filing for a DVCPO. However, by filing the case you generate courts costs. The court will determine who will pay the court costs at the time of the full hearing.
What can I do if I change my mind about a domestic violence case?
If you are the Petitioner in the Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order (DVCPO) and the full hearing has not been held, you must appear at the scheduled full hearing to make an oral request to have the DVCPO dismissed. A DVCPO cannot be dismissed without having a hearing.
If the full hearing has been held and a permanent DVCPO has been issued, you must file a motion requesting dismissal of the DVCPO. The motion will be set for hearing on the magistrate's docket, and both parties must attend the dismissal hearing. If the magistrate issues a decision of dismissal and no one objects in fourteen (14) days, the Judge’s Entry will be filed with the Clerk. The DVCPO is dismissed, once the Judge’s Entry adopting the magistrate’s dismissal is filed.
You may file a motion to dismiss by contacting the attorney of your choice.
You may also file the motion to dismiss pro-se. Contact the Domestic Violence Public Coordinator at (937) 496-6859, for further details.
Does the court offer alternate dispute resolution services?
Yes. The Court provides both settlement hearings and mediation services. For additional information , please call the Mediation Specialist at (937) 225-4539
I have questions about my court decision. Who can I talk to?
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 failed to appear for said hearing. Therefore, you may contact the attorney of your choice. Please be advised that the staff of the Domestic Relations Court can only answers questions on the court's policies and procedures.
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 Ohio 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?
Contact Montgomery County Children Services and/ or the police.
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 Montgomery County Children Services Board must be contacted.
The other parent is wrongfully withholding the child?
If you are in Montgomery County, you may contact the sheriff's department. You will need to show the Sheriff's Office a certified copy of your divorce or dissolution decree, which states you are the residential parent and legal custodian of the child. They can go with you to the other parent's home while you secure the return of your child. If this does not work, you will need to get legal assistance immediately
How do I get a divorce? Where do I come to file a divorce?
Most people find that the best way to get a divorce is to hire an attorney. Technically, a divorce is started when a legal pleading called "complaint for divorce" is filed with the Clerk of Courts, along with instructions for service and payment of the filing fee. A divorce is not granted until the plaintiff (the person who files the complaint) has attended all of the hearings required by the court, and prepared all the necessary papers. At a minimum the person asking for the divorce will have to appear at a hearing and give testimony under oath or affirmation, bring a witness who will also testify, and prepare and bring all the necessary paperwork to complete the case.
For information regarding the Eleven Grounds for filing a divorce, click here to view the Citizen's Guide. To determine what documents need to be filed with your divorce complaint, click here to see what Forms Are Required.
If you are not using an attorney, you may submit your documents to the Public Coordinator for review.
How can I file for an annulment?
Most people do not qualify for an annulment. Even if you have been married for a few weeks, you will probably have to file a divorce complaint or dissolution to end your marriage. A religious annulment and a legal annulment are not the same. A legal annulment is a very limited statutory proceeding and has specific time limits. The procedure is similar to a divorce. You have to file a complaint for an annulment and there has to be a hearing. For information regarding the grounds for filing an annulment, and to see the Six Statutory Grounds For Annulment, view the Citizen's Guide. To determine what documents need to be filed with your divorce complaint, please visit What Forms Are Required.
I am not receiving my child support and/or spousal support check. Who do I call to find out the status of these payments?
The court does not keep track of or send support checks. All support checks are issued through the Ohio Child Support Payment Central, P.O. Box 182372, Columbus, Ohio 43218-2372. You may call 1-800-860-2555 24-hours a day to see if a payment has been posted to your account. You will need to enter your social security number.
My spouse and/or ex-spouse and I are still getting along. We have agreed that we do not want the Child Support Enforcement Agency to handle our child support. Can we agree that the payments be made directly between the two of us?
No. Ohio law requires that all child support must be made through the child support system and that neither the court nor the parties can waive this requirement. As a result, all support orders will require payments through this system.
I can't come to court on this date, how do I get a new date?
You can file a Motion for continuance if you have good cause that prevents you from attending court. Please refer to Local Rule 4.20. Understand that just because you file a Motion for Continuance does not mean that it will be granted. Continuances are not always granted. You must follow-up with the court to see if the motion is granted. If the motion is denied the hearing will go forward as scheduled, even if you are not there. You will need to submit your motion and proposed entry of continuance to the court at least 3 business days prior to your hearing.
What can I do if I do not agree with a Judge's or Magistrate's Decision?
If you do not agree with the final decision of a judge; you or the attorney of your choice can file a written notice of appeal with the Second District Court of Appeals within 30 days of the time-stamped date of the decision. If you file an appeal to a Judge's decision you will need a transcript to support your claim about the decision. These procedures have technical, procedural, and time requirements. It is important that you consult with an attorney concerning your legal rights.
If you do not agree with a Magistrate's Decision, you or the attorney of your choice may file objections to said decision within 14 days of the time-stamped date of the decision. If you file objections to a Magistrate's decision you may need a transcript to support your claim about the decision.
My ex-spouse is not letting me see the children. Do I have to continue paying the child support?
Yes. Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 3109.05 (D), the court shall not authorize or permit the escrowing, impoundment, or withholding of any child support payment order under this section or any other section of the Revised Code because of a denial of or interference with a right of parenting time granted to a parent, or as a method of enforcing the specific provisions of any such order dealing with parenting time or visitation.
What court staff can and cannot do.
Civil Protection Order FAQ.