Chapter 3117: CONCILIATION OF MARITAL CONTROVERSIES

3117.01 Determination of necessity of conciliation procedures.

Chapter 3117: of the Revised Code is applicable only in counties in which the court of common pleas determines that social conditions and the number of domestic relations cases in the county render the conciliation procedures provided necessary to proper consideration of such cases or to effectuate conciliation of marital controversies. Such determination shall be made by the judge of the court of common pleas in counties having only one such judge, or by a majority of the judges of the court of common pleas in counties having more than one such judge. A determination to terminate such procedures may be made in the same manner.

Cite as R.C. § 3117.01

Effective Date: 11-19-1969

3117.02 Judges hearing conciliation cases.

(A) Judges elected under section 2301.03 of the Revised Code as judges of the court of common pleas, division of domestic relations, shall hear all conciliation cases.

(B) In counties having more than one judge of the court of common pleas, but no division of domestic relations, the presiding judge or the judges of that court shall designate, in January of each year, one or more of their number to hear all conciliation cases. A conciliation judge may request that any case before him be assigned by the presiding judge for hearing or other proceedings by any other common pleas judge, whenever in the opinion of the conciliation judge the assignment is necessary to expedite any case. When any case is so assigned, the judge to whom it is assigned acts as a conciliation judge.

(C) The presiding judge of the court of common pleas may appoint a judge of the court of common pleas to act as conciliation judge during any period when a conciliation judge is on vacation, is absent, or is for any reason unable to perform his duties.

Cite as R.C. § 3117.02

Effective Date: 12-04-1995

3117.03 Conciliation counselors.

In each county having a population over one hundred thousand according to the latest federal decennial census, the court of common pleas may appoint one or more conciliation counselors to assist the court in carrying out its functions under this chapter. Conciliation counselors shall do any of the following, as the court may direct:

(A) Confer with the parties to conciliation proceedings, and make recommendations concerning such proceedings to the conciliation judge;

(B) Hold hearings in conciliation cases;

(C) Cause such statistics to be compiled, reports to be made, and records to be kept, as may be relevant to the work of the court in conciliation cases;

(D) Provide such other assistance as may be relevant to the work of the court in conciliation cases.

Cite as R.C. § 3117.03

Effective Date: 11-19-1969

3117.04 Investigations, reports and assistance of probation officers.

The probation officer in every county shall, upon request of the conciliation judge, in order to carry out the purposes of this chapter, make investigations and reports and render other assistance in conciliation cases, within the limits of the powers and duties granted and imposed by the laws of this state relating to probation officers.

Cite as R.C. § 3117.04

Effective Date: 11-19-1969

3117.05 Petition for conciliation.

(A) Prior to or during pendency of any action for divorce, annulment, or legal separation, one or both spouses may file in the court of common pleas a petition for conciliation, to preserve the marriage by effecting a reconciliation, or to amicably settle the controversy between the spouses, so as to avoid further litigation over the issues involved.

(B) The petition shall be captioned substantially as follows:

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF . . . . . . . . . COUNTY, OHIO

In Re: :

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .:and :

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .:

No. . . . . .

PETITION FOR CONCILIATION

(C) The petition shall:

(1) Allege facts showing a controversy between the spouses which may, unless a reconciliation or settlement is achieved, result in dissolution of the marriage or disruption of the household;

(2) State the name and age of each minor child whose welfare may be affected by the controversy;

(3) State the names and addresses of the parties;

(4) Name as respondent any other person who has any relation to the controversy, stating his address if known to the petitioner;

(5) State any other information that the court by rule requires;

(6) Request the aid of the court to effect a reconciliation or any amicable settlement of the controversy between the parties.

(D) The clerk of the court of common pleas shall provide, at the expense of the county, blank forms for petitions for filing pursuant to this chapter. Any employee of the county engaged in conciliation duties shall assist any person at his request in the preparation and presentation of any such petition. All public officers in each county shall refer to the conciliation judge all petitions and complaints made to them in respect to controversies within the purview of this chapter.

(E) No fee shall be charged for filing the petition, nor shall any fee be charged by any officer for the performance of any duty pursuant to this chapter.

(F) Conciliation case files shall be closed, but may be opened for inspection by any party, his counsel, or other proper person, upon written authority of the conciliation judge.

Cite as R.C. § 3117.05

Effective Date: 01-01-1991

3117.06 Hearings and conferences in conciliation proceedings.

(A) The conciliation judge shall fix a reasonable time and place for hearing on the petition within thirty days after the date it is filed, and shall cause such manner of notice of the filing of the petition and the time and place for hearing as he finds necessary to be given to the parties and respondents. The court may issue a citation to any party or respondent requiring him to appear at the time and place stated in the citation, and may require the attendance of witnesses as in other civil cases.

(B) The court may be convened and hearings held pursuant to this chapter at any time and place within the county, and the hearing may be had in chambers or otherwise, except that if any party, prior to hearing, objects to a different time or place, the time and place for hearing shall be that provided by law for the trial of civil actions.

(C) Hearings and conferences in conciliation proceedings shall be held in private. The court shall exclude all persons except officers and employees of the court, the parties and respondents and their counsel, witnesses, and persons called to the aid of the court in the controversy. Conferences may be held with each party separately, and counsel for one party may be excluded from a hearing or conference when the other party is present without counsel.

(D) Hearings and conferences shall be conducted as informally as possible, and a series of hearings or conferences may be held if it appears necessary to effect a reconciliation or amicable settlement of the controversy between the spouses. The court may, with the consent of the parties, recommend or invoke the aid of physicians, psychologists, clergymen, or other specialists, or persons with expertise in the matter in controversy. Such aid shall be at the expense of the parties, unless the board of county commissioners authorizes and provides for payment for such aid.

(E) Upon hearing, the conciliation judge may make such orders in respect to the conduct of the spouses and the subject matter of the controversy as the court finds necessary to preserve the marriage or implement the reconciliation of the spouses. Such orders shall not be effective for more than thirty days, unless the parties consent to a longer time or to a continuation. Any reconciliation agreement between the parties may be reduced to writing and, with the consent of the parties, a court order may be made pursuant to this section requiring the parties to comply therewith.

Cite as R.C. § 3117.06

Effective Date: 11-19-1969

3117.07 Proceedings for conciliation effect on other actions.

During the period beginning with the filing of the petition for conciliation and continuing until expiration of any court order made pursuant to division (E) of section 3117.06 of the Revised Code, neither spouse may file or proceed with any action for divorce, annulment, or legal separation. The pendency of an action for divorce, annulment, or legal separation does not bar proceedings for conciliation under this chapter.

Cite as R.C. § 3117.07

Effective Date: 01-01-1991

3117.08 Transfer domestic relations matter to conciliation.

(A) Whenever it appears at any time during pendency of an action for divorce, annulment, or legal separation that conciliation proceedings may prevent dissolution of the marriage or disruption of the household, the court may transfer the matter to the conciliation judge for proceedings pursuant to this chapter, and the original action shall be stayed pending completion of conciliation proceedings.

(B) Whenever there is a minor child of one or both spouses whose welfare may be affected by the controversy, the conciliation judge shall entertain all conciliation cases properly brought before him. Whenever there is no such minor child, but it appears that reconciliation of the spouses or amicable settlement of the controversy may be achieved, and that conciliation cases involving children will not be seriously impeded by acceptance of the case, the conciliation judge may accept and dispose of conciliation cases in the same manner as in cases involving the welfare of children.

(C) The conciliation judge has jurisdiction over the controversy, the parties, such of the minor children of the parties whose welfare may be affected by the controversy, and all persons having any relation to the controversy, in all conciliation cases properly before him pursuant to this chapter.

Cite as R.C. § 3117.08

Effective Date: 01-01-1991