Effective July 1, 2013 the Supreme Court of Ohio has adopted a set of Standard Domestic Court Forms in Ohio which are approved forms to be utilized in the Domestic Courts throughout the State. All courts in Ohio must accept these forms for filing, but are still permitted to make modifications and require additional forms.
The adoption of these standardized forms has been necessary for quite some time. These forms establish a standard across the state and all courts, which is a very good thing. However, people choosing to act as their own attorney in Divorces need to be vigilant. Dealing with extremely important personal and financial issues, especially where children are involved should never be taken lightly. While these standard forms may help people represent themselves, the question these folks always ask themselves is “Do I really know what I’m doing? And shouldn’t I talk to an attorney and make sure I’m doing this correctly?”
Once mistakes in Domestic cases are made they can be costly and very difficult to fix. Having handled Domestic cases as both an attorney and a judge I have seen many unfortunate people who have had to return to court and experienced great difficulties and financial loss because they chose not to talk to an attorney.
The Standard Forms can be found here: http://www.sc.ohio.gov/JCS/CFC/DRForms/default.asp. Please bear in mind by posting this link I am in no way advising people to utilize these forms, or giving legal advice to anyone in any way. Rather, I think it is important to help keep people informed so they can make the best decisions for themselves. Prior to filing any of these forms please talk to an attorney. Call my office for a free consultation to discuss your case at 740 357-1886.
Judge Craig Baldwin Sworn-In
Congratulations to Fifth District Court of Appeals Judge Craig Baldwin upon his official swearing-in ceremony.
I was fortunate enough to have Judge Baldwin share his wisdom with me when I attended New Judge Orientation in April 2012. He was exceedingly kind, insightful and more than willing to answer any questions or offer advice to me as a judicial colleague even after the seminar. Judge Craig Baldwin was an excellent choice by Governor Kasich for the Court of Appeals.
Summer Parenting Time
Plan Ahead for Summer Parenting Time
It’s that time of year again-planning for Summer Parenting Time. April and early May every year is the time for any divorced parent who is not the primary residential parent to to read over their Divorce Decree and Parenting Time order, particularly any specific provisions pertaining to Summer Parenting Time.
Most court orders pertaining to Summer Parenting Time, or Extended Parenting Time require notifying the residential (custodial) parent of your intent to exercise Summer Parenting Time, or Extended Parenting Time. Even if your court order does not require notification it is still a good idea to send the residential parent a politely worded letter by certified mail explaining your plans, detailing an itinerary as much as possible and noting your intent to exercise summer, or extended parenting time. By providing this notice, in writing, by certified mail it can avoid any miscommunications, provide you proof that you have given proper notice and allow the other parent the ability to make plans of their own for the summer.
The standard court order for parenting time for Scioto County is available online.
If you do encounter problems with obtaining summer parenting time seeking intervention from the court by way of a Motion for Contempt is always an option, but should be used as a last resort. Willis Legal Services is always available to help facilitate and enforce summer parenting time orders. If you have problems with your summer parenting time don’t hesitate to contact us.
Ohio High School Mock Trial Competition
Portsmouth High School Places in Top 5 at Ohio High School Mock Trial Competition
I am very proud to announce that the Portsmouth High School Mock Trial Team was one of the top 5 teams at the Ohio High School Mock Trial State Competition a few weeks back. Our team advanced to the elite Top 8 by winning both matches. PHS was ultimately defeated by the reigning State Champions from Indian Hill, who subsequently went on yet again to repeat and win the State title once again this year.
Our team had a great year and faced very tough competition from Indian Hill, a team of all seniors. Purportedly, the advisors from Indian Hill stated to one of our local judges who judged at the State competition that PHS was indeed the hardest fought match Indian Hill had all year.
More information regarding the competition can be found by visiting www.oclre.org.
Avvo is a website dedicated to helping people make the best decisions for their important legal needs. They rate attorneys and offer forums for people to submit legal questions for attorneys to give guidance. I have only recently discovered Avvo and have started sharing some insights in the Family Law section.
My answers to some of the questions posed by people looking for guidance on Avvo can be found below:
Ohio High School Mock Trial
Ohio High School Mock Trial 2013
2013 marks the 30th year for the Ohio High School Mock Trial Competition. I was fortunate enough to have been a participant 25 years ago and I have enjoyed working with virtually every facet of this program. I served as a Legal Advisor to Portsmouth High School’s team from 1995-2000 and I acted as a competition judge from 2001-2010.
I returned to act as a Legal Advisor in 2011 and have had the joy of working with Portsmouth High School’s students in the Ohio High School Mock Trial Competition once again for the last three years. In 2012 our PHS students managed to conquer both First and Second Place at the District level locally and both teams survived the Regional level and advanced to the State Ohio High School Mock Trial Competition. One of our teams last year made it to the second round and finished in the Top 8 in the State, succumbing to the team that eventually won taking top honors.
This year’s case is:
State of Ohio v. Dakota Allen- A high school sophomore is suspected of setting a fire at the school that resulted in the death of a maintenance worker. The police then engage in a lengthy interrogation process that involves driving to the scene of the crime and the victim’s home as well as various interrogation techniques. Late in the day, the defendant makes a statement claiming responsibility for the fire and is subsequently charged with Murder and Arson. However, the defendant later recants the confession. The defendant has alleged that the statements were improperly coerced by the police in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments and filed a Motion to Suppress.
2013 PHS has one team in the Ohio High School Mock Trial competition and I am proud that we once again placed First atop our District and advanced to the Regional Competition where we won both trials and qualified to compete at the State Competition.
Congratulations to Ali Miller and Molly Kammler for taking Best Attorney honors and Pajah Williams and Allison Raies for winning Best Witness awards at the District level. It is an honor and privilege to work with these talented young people.
Congratulations also go out to South Webster and Wheelersburg High Schools for advancing to the Regional Ohio Mock Trial Competition after placing 2nd and 3rd Place in our District.
Judge Kline Retires
4th District Court of Appeals Judge Kline retires at the end of the month. Congratulations and thanks to Judge Roger Kline for his 18 years of service to the people of the 4th District Court of Appeals.
Good luck to Judge-Elect Marie Hoover as she starts her term on the 4th District Court of Appeals in February.
Social Media and the Judiciary
Social Media and the Judiciary: Do Judges have any Free Speech rights left? For good, or evil judges have to be very cognizant of public perception and communications. Social Media interaction is no different. However, this is one area of ethics law which is slowly playing catch up. Not a lot of solid law has been made on these issues yet, but may be in the near future. The State of Florida is considering the implications of judges being “friends” with lawyers on Facebook: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/crime-law/state-high-court-asked-to-decide-whether-judges-la/nTyhj/
It’s an interesting issue to be sure. The problem is how far should the Free Speech rights of judges be restricted. Avoiding an appearance of impropriety is all well and good, but at some point there needs to be a line, particularly given the rapidly changing face of our society with technological advances. Having been a magistrate and judge confined by ethical considerations, I am well aware of how carefully a jurist needs to consider statements made in public. It’s very difficult and can be extremely frustrating. Not to mention the fact that the public in general does not understand, or care about such ethical considerations. When it comes to the public perception of the judiciary at times such restrictions tend to have the opposite effect. The public just thinks a judge is being pompous, or aloof by refusing to answer a question, or to make a statement. Now, it seems there is even more of a push to curtail the free speech rights of jurists. If we aren’t careful, the appearance of impropriety we are trying to avoid ends up being trampled upon and replaced by the appearance of a judiciary of elitists, out of touch with the general population. I think a balance definitely needs to be sought and struck by the various high courts across the nation in considering these issues.
Welcome to Willis Legal Services, LLC!
Thank you for discovering our website and welcome! We are excited about the prospects of launching this new legal enteprise. Please bear with us as this site develops over time. Willis Legal Services, LLC is here to serve your needs for legal representation.