I have to appear in court?
Yes. Juveniles and a parent/guardian must attend all court hearings
in delinquency, unruly and traffic cases. It is advisable in all
other types of cases that parties be present or risk decisions being
made without their input.
long will I be at Court?
The court tries to handle cases on time. Please check in 10 minutes
before your scheduled time. There can be unexpected delays. It may
be necessary for you and your child to meet with other court personnel
following your court hearing. Please allow time in your schedule
to be at court longer than you may expect. Your patience is appreciated.
do I get my court date changed?
You must contact the clerk's office and fill out a form requesting
that your court date be continued. This must approved by the Judge
in advance or you are expected to appear at your scheduled date
and time. Requests for continuance must be made at least seven (7)
days prior to the hearing.
do I wear to court?
Appropriate dress is required for everyone conducting business with
the court. The following list is a guide for dressing:
• No cut-off or short shorts
No midriff tops, no tank tops or strapless tops
No offensive language or picture on clothing
No visible undergarments
someone other than my parent come to court?
The Court requires a parent/guardian to appear with a minor. Exceptions
are made if the individual is 18 years or older when the hearing
Can I bring my other children with me to court?
Please arrange in advance for appropriate babysitting for younger
children. Young children will not be permitted in the courtroom
or unattended in the hallway unless at the discretion of the judge.
Continuances will not be granted because you did not secure a babysitter.
are the costs associated with coming to court?
See the complete fee schedule at www.ottawacountyjuvenilecourt.com.
do I go to file a motion?
All motions are filed at the Clerk’s Office of the Ottawa
County Juvenile Court, located at 315 Madison Street, Port Clinton,
Ohio 43452 (Third Floor).
would I contact to request a hearing?
Once a complaint or motion has been filed with the Juvenile Court,
the clerks will schedule your case for hearing before the judge.
You will receive a Notice of Hearing advising you when to appear
at the court.
I have to have an attorney represent me in juvenile court proceedings?
No. While it may be preferable to have an attorney represent your
interests in legal matters pending before the court, it is not required.
However, if you choose not to have an attorney represent you, be
mindful that court staff are prohibited from giving legal advise.
can I determine if I qualify for a court appointed attorney?
An affidavit of financial disclosure can be picked up or completed
at the juvenile court. This document should be filled out completely
regarding all members of your household and then signed before a
notary public. A review will then be made to determine if you qualify
for court-appointed counsel.
do I find an attorney?
You may contact the court for the name and telephone number of the
current President of the Ottawa County Bar Association whom you
may call for a referral.
is an arraignment?
a complaint has been filed with the court alleging that a juvenile
is delinquent, unruly, or has committed a traffic offense, the court
sets the case for an arraignment. At this initial appearance, juveniles
are present with their parents/custodians and are advised of the
allegations contained in the complaint, their rights in the proceeding,
and the possible consequences if adjudicated of the offense. Juveniles
are asked to enter either an admission or denial to the allegations
contained in the complaint. If denied, the matter is assigned for
pretrial conference and/or an adjudicatory hearing at a later date.
is a pretrial conference?
A pretrial conference is an opportunity for you and/or your attorney
to meet with the prosecuting attorney or one of his assistant attorneys
to discuss the allegations of the complaint and determine whether
the case will be set for adjudication.
does adjudication mean?
An adjudication is a finding that the court makes after the case
has been heard. Once there is an adjudication, such as a child being
adjudicated delinquent, unruly, abused, neglected or dependent,
then the court has the authority to make appropriate orders with
respect to the child and his/her parents.
will the court reach a decision in my case?
Each case is decided on its own merits. A decision will be made
after all parties have presented evidence and/or testimony.
if I don’t agree with the court’s decision or judgment
If a decision was issued by the magistrate, a party has fourteen
(14) days from the date of that decision to file an objection. The
judge may then adopt, reject or modify the magistrate’s decision,
hear additional evidence, send the matter back to the magistrate
with instructions or hear the matter. If the judge has issued a
final judgment entry, then a party has thirty (30) days from the
date of the entry to file an appeal with the Sixth District Court
is the difference between a judge and a magistrate?
Both judges and magistrates are required to be lawyers. A judge
is elected and a magistrate is appointed by the judge.
do I file for custody or visitation?
The best way is to contact an attorney who will gather the information
and put it in the correct format to file a Complaint for the Allocation
of Parental Rights and Responsibilities with the Court. You may,
however, choose to file a Pro Se Application on your own. If so,
you must pick up a packet from the Court that includes basic instructions
on completing the forms. You are responsible for supplying the name
and address of any party that has an interest in the custody of
the child such as a parent or current custodian of the child. The
Court cannot act as your attorney. If you choose to file on your
own, it will be up to you to try your own case and subpoena witnesses
if necessary. You must also pay a filing fee of $125.00 in order
to start a custody action.
I have to have a hearing to obtain custody of a child?
Yes. It is important to gather all the important information so
the judge can make the decision that will be in the best interest
of the child. Even if the parties involved agree about the outcome,
the court must determine if all terms and provisions of an agreement
are appropriate and in the best interest of the child.
one parent has legal custody, does the other parent have any rights?
Even if one parent has legal custody, the other parent still has
parental rights. Those rights are usually set out in a court order.
A child has the right to a relationship with both parents unless
a court has specifically denied visitation.
rights does a parent have under shared parenting?
A parent’s rights under shared parenting are set out in a
shared parenting plan that is approved by a court.
can I do if the other parent does not follow the court order?
A motion for contempt may be filed at the juvenile court if the
other parent does not follow the court order.
I am being denied visitation with my child by the custodian, how
can I get visitation with my child?
legal problem that you have regarding your child should be referred
to an attorney. If you wish to act as your own attorney, you should
be advised that you do so at your own risk and that this court cannot
provide you with legal advice. Upon your request, if you wish to
proceed without an attorney, the court will provide you with a packet
containing forms that you can prepare and file to request visitation
with your child.
is the difference between a Grandparent Power of Attorney, legal
custody, and a guardianship of a minor?
A Grandparent Power of Attorney is signed by a parent giving a grandparent
care and control of a grandchild, which includes the authority to:
the grandchild in school;
education and behavioral information about the grandchildren from
the school district;
to all school-related matters regarding the grandchild; and
to medical, psychological or dental treatment for the grandchild.
custody gives the custodian the right and responsibility to have
physical care and control of a child, subject to the rights of parents.
A guardianship of a minor is granted by the Probate Court. It allows
the guardian to provide care and control of the child, subject to
the approval and oversight of the Court.
do I establish paternity?
A mother or biological father should contact the Child Support Enforcement
Agency in the county where they are residing and initiate an administrative
proceeding to establish paternity. In Ottawa County, the Child Support
Enforcement Agency is located at 8043 W. State Rte. 163, Suite 200,
Oak Harbor, OH 43449. You may contact that office at 419-898-3688.
rights does a man have if he has not been found to be the child's
A father’s rights and obligations toward a child born outside
of marriage begin only when paternity is legally established.
am a juvenile. How do I get emancipated?
There is no specific statute or court rule in the State of Ohio
that specifically provides for a child to be considered an emancipated
is the difference between a juvenile court and an adult court?
A juvenile court holds youth accountable for their action while
focusing on rehabilitating offenders and working with families to
keep youth from re-offending. The goal is to reach young people
early to prevent them from becoming involved with the adult justice
system. In most cases, juvenile offenders do not have jury trials,
or the ability to post bond.
are the ages of the youth who come into Court?
child under the age of 18 is subject to the jurisdiction of the
juvenile court. The average age is 15.
This hearing determines what action shall be taken after adjudication
concerning the child who is within jurisdiction of the Court. The
Court considers the child's previous record, relationship with the
parents(s), school reports, and the child's statements. Another
consideration is the protection of the community from this type
of behavior and whether such behavior will continue. The theme of
rehabilitations is a key factor at this stage.
Disposition can be any one or more of the following:
Commitment to Department of Youth Services
Diagnostic assessment and treatment
Referral to court programs
Referral to other agencies
my child is placed on probation, how long will it last?
Probation Department utilizes a risk/needs instrument that a probation
officer completes at the time a child is placed on probation. The
assessment will, determine the child's level of risk for re-offending.
See Levels of Probation. It should be noted that each youth is re-evaluated
every ninety days and after each new offense. Therefore, the length
of time a youth is on probation varies.
I turn 18, will I automatically be terminated from probation supervision?
No. A youth is not automatically removed from probation supervision
at the age of 18. The Juvenile Court can maintain jurisdiction until
the age of 21. However, if for any reason the youth would require
detention as a result of a probation violation, the youth would
be detained at the Ottawa County Detention facility rather than
in the Sandusky County Juvenile Detention Center.
offenses may result in detention?
juvenile may be committed to the Ohio Department of Youth Services
if he/she commits a felony offense. In some cases, a felony juvenile
offender will be given a suspended commitment on certain conditions.
In those circumstances and for juveniles who commit misdemeanor
offenses, detention may be ordered up to 90 days.
“status offenses”, such as unruly and truancy charges,
the juvenile is not subject to detention. There may be instances,
however, when an unruly youth may be placed in detention for a maximum
of 5 days.
Ottawa County does not have a Juvenile Detention Center, where do
juvenile court uses the Sandusky County Juvenile Detention Center
happens after a youth enters the Juvenile Detention Center?
The youth is provided necessary services to include continued health
care, education, recreational and leisure activities, if appropriate,
as well as limited visits with parents, attorney, and probation
officer. If necessary, crisis intervention will be provided.
I obtain information about a minor's file by calling the court?
No, all information about a minor's file is confidential.
I obtain information about my own child's juvenile records?
after answering identifying questions that would indicate you are
the parent, the clerk would be able to provide limited information
from the court file (such as next hearing date, name of attorney).
The clerk will not provide detailed information regarding the nature
of the proceedings. These types of questions should be referred
to your attorney.
my juvenile records automatically sealed after I turn 18?
There are two mechanisms available with which to seal a juvenile
record. The first is called expungement. An expungement of a record
can be requested if the juvenile is not found delinquent or unruly
of the offense for which they are charged, based upon the complaint
filed. The second is called "seal" of record.
do I get my records sealed?
person may request that records be sealed six (6) months after the
final court order in a case. Any outstanding court costs must be paid. There
are certain felony offenses that cannot be sealed.
long will my delinquent record be on file?
delinquent records are reviewed for sealing or Expungement upon
request. If an application is not made, the record remains on file
with the court indefinitely.
is community service?
youth who is court ordered to perform a certain number of community
services hours, who is at least 14 years of age but under 18 years
of age, can satisfy the court - ordered community service by working
(for no pay) at community worksites through the Community Service
Program. The program director will determine which site is appropriate
child is involved in unruly behaviors. What can I do?
can contact the Director of Probation and Court Services at the
court who will explain options available to you.
The juvenile court has the important charge of ensuring that the
children of Ottawa County live in a safe and healthy environment.
Through the Ottawa County Department of Job and Family Services,
allegations of abuse and neglect are investigated and at times children
are removed from their homes for their protection. Through various
community agencies, parent(s) are provided with resources and services
to help resolve the problems that made court involvement necessary.
The Court oversees this process through an array of court hearings
during the pendency of the case.
The ultimate goal of court involvement is to ensure the child has
a safe and permanent home within one year. The Juvenile Court focuses
on the best interest of the child when making its determinations
in these matters. To this end, the Court appoints a Court-Appointed
Special Advocate (CASA) for the child to represent the child’s
best interests. Certain circumstances require the services of an
Attorney/Guardian ad Litem.
In many cases, children are ultimately reunited with their parent(s):
however, some situations require placement with relatives and/or
eventual termination of parental rights.
What is a CASA Guardian Ad Litem?
Ad Litem are trained advocates who speak up for abused, neglected
and dependent children in court. A CASA/GAL (Court Appointed Special
Advocate/Guardian Ad Litem) is a trained community volunteer appointed
to serve as a child’s advocate during the court process. The
program’s mission is to provide every child who enters the
court system as a result of allegations of abuse, neglect or dependency,
with a trained community volunteer to advocate for what is in the
child’s “best interest” by investigating, monitoring,
and advocating on the child’s behalf.