LEGAL PRACTICE IN THE JUVENILE COURT
Legal practice in the Juvenile Court is restricted by law to attorneys who are licensed by the Supreme Court of Ohio. If an individual wishes to handle his or her own case, he or she may do so; however, they may not represent others. Due to the complexity of the law and the desire to avoid costly errors, most individuals who have filings before the Court are represented by an attorney. Deputy clerks are prevented by law from practicing law and, therefore, are not permitted to give advice.
Every child deserves the support of both parents. Regular and consistent payments of support can lead to better outcomes for children. Parents by law are obligated to support their children. The legal obligation to support children applies whether the parents are married to each other, married to a subsequent spouse or were never married. This obligation applies to both parents regardless of who has custody of the child.
A Child Support Order determines the amount of support to be paid, to whom the support will be paid, which parent will be responsible for health insurance, and a cash medical amount to be paid when health insurance isn’t provided. Child support and visitation are two separate issues. It is important to remember that your obligation to pay child support isn’t determined by the amount of visitation you may or may not have with your child. Non-support of children is a criminal offense.
Assisting the public in becoming familiar with the terminology in Juvenile Court is beneficial. Some of the common terminology is as follows:
Child Support Enforcement Agencies (CSEA) can establish a support Order for parents once paternity has been established. Child support and medical support Orders can be established at no cost to you. In Sandusky County you can establish child support by contacting the Sandusky County Child Support Enforcement Agency, they are located 2511 Countryside Dr., Fremont, OH 43420 and their phone number is 419-334-2909.
Paternity establishment is the legal determination of fatherhood. By law, an unmarried female who gives birth is the sole residential and legal custodian of that child until a Court makes an Order. By establishing paternity, a father gains the right to seek custody and parenting time. The child gains certain legal rights and privileges, as well, including inheritance rights. The establishment of paternity provides a legal basis for a Child Support Order.
Paternity can be established in one of the four following ways:
Once paternity has been established, you can seek child support, medical support, and visitation/parenting times. As a reminder, child support and visitation are two separate issues. It is important to remember that your obligation to pay child support isn’t determined by the amount of visitation you may or may not have with your child.
Sandusky County Juvenile Court has developed local forms to assist in CHILD SUPPORT filings as follows:
HOW DO I CONTACT THE CHILD SUPPORT ATTORNEY OR MY CHILD SUPPORT CASEWORKER?
Their office is located at 2511 Countryside Drive, Fremont, OH 43420. You can contact the Child Support Attorney or your caseworker by calling the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) at 419-334-2909.
HOW DO I FILE CONTEMPT ON THE OBLIGOR FOR NOT FOLLOWING AN ADMINISTRATIVE CHILD SUPPORT ORDER?
To file contempt on an Administrative Child Support Order you must file a Complaint for Contempt. A copy of the Administrative Child Support Order is required at the time of filing.
I AM THE OBLIGEE, DO I NEED TO APPEAR FOR A CONTEMPT HEARING?
You are not required to appear, however, it is your right to do so.
HOW CAN I GET A COURT APPOINTED ATTORNEY?
If you are facing charges that could result in punishment by jail time, you can request a Court Appointed Attorney by filing a Financial Disclosure Form with the Sandusky County Juvenile Court in person, by mail (100 N. Park Ave, Fremont, OH 43420), or by fax (419-334-6210). The Judge or Magistrate reviews each application and makes a determination of eligibility based on State of Ohio guidelines. If a party qualifies for a Court Appointed Attorney, they will be notified by mail of the Attorney’s name and contact information.
HOW CAN I FILE AN OBJECTION TO MY ADMINISTRATIVE CHILD SUPPORT ORDER / RECOMMENDATION?
You may object to this by filing a Complaint at Sandusky County Juvenile Court. This must be filed within 30 days of the Order or Recommendation. A copy of the Order in which you are objecting must be attached to the Complaint.
IF I AM ORDERED TO REPORT TO JAIL FOR A CONTEMPT FILING, CAN I ASK FOR MORE TIME TO PURGE MY JAIL SENTENCE?
To file a Purge Extension you must file a Motion with the Sandusky County Juvenile Court.
HOW DO I GIVE UP MY PARENTAL RIGHTS AND NOT PAY CHILD SUPPORT?
As a parent you don’t get the choice to give up your rights and obligation to pay child support. Once you have a child you are legally bound to support that child until their 18th birthday or graduation from high school (the latter date of those events). Only the Court can terminate parental rights. Termination of parental rights are initiated through the Children Services Division of the Department of Job and Family Services.