September 28 , 2012: New Summons and Order to Appear form effective today: Judge Smith filed a Journal Entry on September 21, 2012 adopting a revised Summons and Order to Appear form which is effective September 28, 2012. The form revision is the result of Senate Bill 337 which made changes to R.C. 2705.031 which grants DR Courts the authority to grant occupational driving priviliges in cases involving contempt for non-payment of child support. The revised form is available in the Court Forms section of this website or by clicking on the following link: Summons and Order to Appear.

February 1, 2012: Amended Local Rules of Court take effect:
Judge Smith filed a Journal Entry this date adopting amendments to the Local Rules of the Domestic Relations Court which were published for comment back in December. You can view or download the Rules by visiting the Local Rules section of this website or by clicking on the following link: Local Rules Effective 2/1/12.

December 22, 2011 : Revised Forms Effective January 1, 2012 : On December 22, 2011, Judge Smith filed a Journal Entry revising the following Court Forms effective January 2, 2012. You can click on the forms on this page to view or download them. On January 2, 2012,these forms will replace the current versions located on the Court Forms page of this website.

1. Notice of Intent to Relocate:
This single form will serve as notice for both local and long distance relocations and clarifies that a hearing will only be scheduled for the non-residential parent upon that parent filing a motion with the Court.

2. Local Parenting Time Schedule: This form is revised to conform to the new Notice of Intent to Relocate (Paragraph I). It also eliminates superfluous language (Introduction); eliminates the commencing fill-in dates (Paragraph A); deletes the requirement for parents to consult with each other before making arrangements for day care or sitters (Paragraph E); deletes the requirement for agreeing parents to obtain the permission of the court before changing the children's religious practices (Paragraph E); and changing the default summer vacation schedule from the current alternating two week periods to alternating one week periods and clarifying that the right to two weeks of uninterrupted parenting time need not be for an "out of town" vacation (Summer Vacation).


3. Long Distance Parenting Time Schedule: This form is also revised to conform to the new Notice of Intent to Relocate (Paragraph 5(F); deletes the requirement for parents to consult with each other before making arrangements for day care or sitters (Paragraph 5(C); and deletes the requirement for agreeing parents to obtain the permission of the court before changing the children's religious practices (Paragraph F(D)).

4. Mandatory Language for Orders Regarding Child Support, Cash Medical Support, Spousal Support and Health Insurance: This form is being revised to make clear that when child support is being withheld from unemployment compensation benefits, that processing charge is not to be assessed.


December 21, 2011 : Proposed Amendments to Local Rules: Judge Smith is publishing for comment a notice in the Daily Legal News of proposed Amendments to the Local Rules of Court, the bulk of which are designed to reflect the new requirements for admission of attorneys Pro Hac Vice (Local Rule 7) and to require exclusive use of the Ohio Supreme Court's Uniform Domestic Relations Forms (Local Rules 8, 10 and 16). A small change is also being proposed to Local Rule 11 concerning Ex Parte Orders and to Local Rule 17 regarding Trial Exhibits. The planned effective date for the Amendments is February 1, 2012 and comments are welcome until Friday, January 20, 2012. The proposed Amendments are available at the Court for review. They can also be viewed by clicking on the following link: Proposed Amendments.

November 4, 2011: Judge Smith to Participate in Family Court Seminar Judge Smith will be joining a distinguished panel of nine Judges at a National Business Institute seminar in Akron, Ohio on November 4, 2011. The seminar is entitled "What Family Court Judges and Magistrates Want You to Know". Registration materials for the 6 credit hour course is available at the Court or online from www.nbi-sems.com.

November 7, 2010:
Judge Smith Announces Reduced Fee Program: Judge Smith is pleased to announce an program she has worked out with the Lawyer Referral Service of the Mahoning County Bar Association for private attorneys to accept a substantially reduced legal fee to handle reductions in child support. Under the program, those with household incomes that are less than 200% of the federal poverty level will pay a flat fee of $265.00 with the filing fee of $100.00 being typically waived upon the filing of a poverty affidavit. Those wishing legal assistance under this new program should contact the Court or the Mahoning County Bar Association.

November 9, 2010: Judge Smith Announces Relocation of Support Staff Offices:
Judge Smith is very pleased to announce the completion of new support staff office space on the third floor of the Mahoning County Courthouse.  The new space includes Magistrate Courtrooms which feature raised oak benches which have been hand crafted by employees of the Mahoning County Facilities Management Department. The renovation was completed in a manner which preserves the historic character of the Courthouse and transforms hearing rooms into true courtrooms which the public will truly appreciate and respect.

These renovations mark the completion of long awaited relocation of Magistrates and support staff from the Courthouse basement to the third floor which places them in close proximity to the main Domestic Relations Courtroom on the fourth floor.  This move allows for more efficient access to the Court and Clerk of Courts by attorneys, litigants and the public.  It also promotes court security and frees up space in the basement for other county departments.

Bringing the Court operations closer together has been a goal of Judge Smith since taking office when the Court’s Magistrates and support staff were actually housed outside the Courthouse on the first floor of the County Administration Building located next door.  Early on in her term, Judge Smith worked with the County Commissioners to move the Court staff out of the Administration Building and into the basement of the Courthouse in the space previously occupied by the Commissioners.  Relocation to the much more convenient third floor was finally made possible after the Mahoning County Prosecutor located its Civil Branch to the County Administration Building back in 2006.

Judge Smith wishes to express her deep appreciation to the Facilities Management staff as well as to the Mahoning County Commissioners for their support of this project.  The funds for the project were derived from the Capital Improvement Fund established by the Commissioners for the ongoing renovation and maintenance of the Courthouse and other county offices.

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October 28, 2010: Judge Smith presides over Naturalization Ceremony: On Thursday morning, October 28, 2010, Judge Smith had the special privilege of presiding over a Naturalization Ceremony where 11 new immigrants from 10 different countries were formally declared new citizens of the United States.  Assisting Judge Smith in the beautiful swearing in were Deputy Clerk of Courts Kathy McNabb Welsh, Steven Darvanan, Mahoning County Auto Title Supervisor, John Vega of the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service, Ann Block of the Secretary of State’s Office and Joann Cook and Mary Altiere of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Maureen Collins of Easy Street Productions provided a beautiful musical rendition of America the Beautiful that captured the glory of the moment and making it memorable for the new citizens and their families.

Judge Smith told the new citizens: “Our nation needs more than your talents and contributions as workers.  Our nation needs more than you to obey the laws.  Our nation needs more than you to pay your taxes honestly and timely.  Our nation needs your active participation.”   She encouraged them to become active in the political party of their choice, participate in political campaigns, attend public meetings, get informed in every election and hold representatives accountable, learn about American history and educate their families about our constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the National Anthem, and the Pledge to the Flag. She also charged them to volunteer for charitable causes and civic organizations reminding them that: “Once you become engaged, you will no longer feel distant from your government and you will understand that your voice can be heard and counted."

October 6, 2010: Division of Property Order Revised.
Please note that the Ohio Administrative Code was amended, effective January 1, 2010, to account for revisions to the Division of Property Order Form (DPO). As of June 30, 2010, OPERS is only accepting the revised form. The DPO form is available on OPERS' website as well as in the Court Forms section of this Court's website. You can view and print the form by clicking on the following link: Division of Property Order. The DPO form can be retyped, but it must be verbatim the DPO form. If requested, OPERS will review and pre-approve (assuming everything is proper) a DPO prior to the parties' submitting the DPO to the Court.

June 28, 2010 : Uniform DR Forms effective July 1, 2010.
The Ohio Supreme Court has approved and adopted five (5) Uniform Domestic Relations Forms which are effective July 1, 2010. You can view them by clicking on the following link to the Supreme Court's Website: Uniform DR Forms. The forms are also now available under the Court Forms section of this Website as both writable Word and PDF documents for easy application.

It is important to note that the forms are not mandatory but must be accepted by all courts if they are submitted after that date. I like the new forms and encourage you to utilize them over the next 60 days while I decide whether to make them mandatory in our Court.

You will be pleased to learn that the forms closely parallel those that the Court currently uses and reflects numerous changes specifically recommended by the Court during the period of comment.

You will also be pleased to know that within a few days, the Supreme Court will make these forms available in both Microsoft Word and in a PDF writable format so that they can be easily word processed.

Specifically, the new forms are as follows:

1. Affidavit of Income & Expenses (similar to our Affidavit of Income, Expenses and Financial Disclosure)

2. Affidavit of Property (similar to our Pre-Trial Form)

3. Parenting Proceeding Affidavit (similar to our Parenting Declaration)

4. Health Insurance Affidavit
(similar to our Private Health Insurance Questionnaire)

5. Motion and Affidavit or Counter Affidavit for Temporary Orders Without Oral Hearing (similar to our Request for Affidavit Order)

June 8, 2010 : Full Disclosure of Assets & Modifying Division of Property Orders. On June 8, 2010, Governor Strickland signed HB 238 into law making two important changes to Domestic Relations Law which takes effect on September 8, 2010:

A.
Full Disclosure of Assets: Parties will now be statutorily required to make a full disclosure of all marital property, separate property and any of their other assets, debts, income and expenses. Moreover, if the parties substantially and willfully fail to do so, the Court will be statutorily authorized to compensate an offended spouse with a distributive award of with a greater award of marital property of up to three times the value of the nondisclosure.

B. Modifying Division of Property Orders:
This amendment finally grants the Court continuing jurisdiction to modify orders regarding the division or disbursement of property upon the express written consent of both parties, or in a decree of dissolution of marriage if the parties have included as part of the separation agreement, an authorization for the court to modify the order and then later seek a modification of the order and expressly consent to the modification. These requirements make the property order modficiation process nearly identical to the spousal support modification process.


June 7, 2010 : Case Management Rule Adopted.
The proposed Case Management Plan (new Local Rule 47) which was published for comment back on April 21, 2010 has been adopted in its published form and is effective June 1, 2010. I appreciate the thoughtful comments that were received.

March 24, 2010 : Notice of Destruction of Court Exhibits.
In accordance with Superintendence Rule 26.01(E), the Court hereby gives notice that all exhibits submitted and/or filed with the Court between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 2008 will be destroyed after sixty-one (61) days of this notification. Pursuant to Rule 26.01(F), the party originally tendering said exhibits are advised of the following:

(1) The exhibits may be retrieved within sixty (60) days;

(2) The exhibits will be destroyed if not retrieved within sixty (60) days;

(3) The exhibits may be retrieved by contacting the Court Administrator of this Court located on the 4th Floor of the Mahoning County Courthouse, 120 Market St., Youngstown, OH 44503.

(4) The final date for retrieval shall be July 1, 2010 at 4:00 P.M.

February 22 , 2008: COURT RECEIVES RECYLING AWARD. The Court is proud to announce that the Mahoning County Green Team and the Youngstown Litter Control and Recycling Programs awarded the Court an "Excellence in Recycling Award" in recognition of the the Court achieving the "highest standards of recycling which contributes to the quality of the environment in Mahoning County.


November 4, 2006: JUDGE SMITH RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD

Judge Smith with Margaret Wuwert & Nancy Moore of the Children's Right's Council
Judge Smith was recently the proud recipient of the Chief Justice Warren E. Burger Healer Award in Washington, D.C. at the 20th annual Children's Rights Conference. The Children's Rights Council is an international nonprofit organization devoted to the healthy development of children. The award is presented to judges who promote mediation over litigation and promote healing after the breakup of a relationship.

About Our Court

Full Time Magistrates and Staff Attorney: In 1997, Judge Smith became the first member of the Special Divisions of the Common Pleas Bench to employ Full Time Magistrates to expedite decision-making and to better serve the public. She also employed a Staff Attorney to insure that Court decisions are well supported and reflect the current state of the law. Click here to meet the Court's Magistrates and Staff Attorney.

Family Services Department: In March 1998, Judge Smith established a Family Services Department to make the Court family friendly.

Hope House Visitation Center: In January 1999, Judge Smith joined with the late Juvenile Judge James McNally to become an early planner and strong supporter of the Hope House Visitation Center Project. The Court continues to provide financial support for this important program. Due to
a 2007 grant, there are no costs associated with the use
of Hope House for Mahoning County residents.

For Our Children: In April 2001, Judge Smith secured a $2,500.00 Grant from the Ohio Supreme Court to establish an Educational Program for children of families going through divorce.

Mediation: In October 2001, Judge Smith made Mediation mandatory for most families with parenting disputes, a program that has experienced great success and which earned Judge Smith recognition from The Vindicator as one of the Mahoning Valley's "People Who Made a Difference."

Pro-Se Divorce Program: Judge Smith has worked cooperatively with Northeast Ohio Legal Services to make no cost divorces available to qualifying persons with limited financial resources.

Domestic Violence: Petitions for Domestic Violence are given special priority by the Court, which works cooperatively with the VALU program of Northeast Ohio Legal Services to assist victims of domestic violence.


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Mahoning County Domestic Relations Court
120 Market St.
Youngstown, OH
44503

Phone: 330-740-2208
Fax: 330-740-2503

 

COURT NEWS ARCHIVE