Both judges and magistrates are required to be lawyers. A judge is elected and a magistrate is appointed by the judge.
This type of communication is considered ex parte and is not permitted except in the courtroom during hearings. All communication must be done in a court hearing with all parties present. A brochure that explains can be found here.
No, but if a youth is charged with a felony, they must consult with an attorney before the case can proceed. While it may be advisable to have an attorney represent your interests in legal matters pending before the court, it is not required. Pursuant to Rule #3 of the Ohio Rules of Juvenile Procedure, however, "Any waiver of the right to counsel shall be made in open court, recorded, and in writing. In determining whether a child has knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived the right to counsel, the court shall look to the totality of the circumstances including, but not limited to: the child’s age; intelligence; education; background and experience generally and in the court system specifically; the child’s emotional stability; and the complexity of the proceedings. The Court shall ensure that a child consults with a parent, custodian, guardian, or guardian ad litem, before any waiver of counsel. However, no parent, guardian, custodian, or other person may waive the child’s right to counsel."
If you choose not to have an attorney represent you, be mindful that court staff are prohibited from giving legal advice.
If you are indigent you may be eligible for a court appointed attorney. If you think you qualify for a court appointed attorney, there is information on Legal Assistance on our Resources page for how to find attorneys in the area. Also, if indigent and seeking a court-appointed attorney, you must apply by completing and submitting a Financial Affidavit (Instructions for Financial Affidavit can be found here.)
If you do not qualify for a court appointed attorney you must hire your own attorney. You will find a list of area attorneys who are members of the Preble County Bar Association and attorneys who represent clients in Preble County courts here.
If you are a juvenile, the Court requires that you appear with a parent/guardian. For civil matters, it is important for you to appear or decisions/judgments may be made without your input.
The court tries to handle cases on time, so you should check in 15 minutes before your scheduled time. There can be unexpected delays, of course, and it may be necessary for you and your parent/guardian 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.
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 Hats
- Shirts required
- No midriff tops, no tank tops or strapless tops
- No offensive language or picture on clothing
- Shoes required
- No visible undergarments
You must contact the court office to fill out a form in writing requesting that your court date be continued. Please contact our office at (937) 456-8136 to get information and the form. This must be 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.
No. You must file a motion to have your record sealed. If you are under the age of 18, you must wait 6 months after any court order is concluded (i.e. the date you are released from probation). If you are age 18, there is no waiting period although all court orders must be completed.
Court orders may be changed only by the issuance of another Court order. You must file a motion to change an existing court order.
If you have received a summons to appear, you must come to Court as scheduled.
- Juvenile Summons – Youth and a parent must appear
- Contempt/Impositions – You must appear or risk the issuance of a bench warrant
- Subpoena – Per instructions on the subpoena, contact the person that issued the subpoena as to whether you should appear
The State of Ohio does not have an emancipation law and therefore a child cannot become emancipated in Ohio before the age of eighteen.
Juvenile Rule 11 governs the transfer of the case from one county to another county. If a party wishes to transfer his or her case to or from another county, the party must file a motion in the Juvenile Court who currently has the case.
A party should consult with an attorney if they want their case transferred from one state to another.
Private Custody and Abuse, Neglect and Dependency Cases-The transfer of these cases are governed by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act under R.C. 3127.
Delinquency and Unruly Cases- R.C. 2151.56-2151.60 governs the transfer of these cases.
Paternity and Support Cases- The transfer of these cases fall under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. CSEA, the Preble County Support Enforcement Agency, can assist you in contacting the other state.
The party who wants to terminate visitation should consult with an attorney about terminating the visitation and filing the appropriate motion. If there is an order of visitation, the order must be followed until such time a jurist modifies or terminates the order. If a party does not follow the order, he or she can be found in contempt of court.
Paternity can be established in a number of ways:
- Both the mother and the father sign a paternity affidavit and register it with the Central Paternity Registry. The hospital were the child was born should have this affidavit.
- Initiate an administrative action through the Preble County Job and Family Services-Offices of Child Support Services at:
1500 Park Avenue
Eaton, Ohio 45320
Phone: (937) 456-6205
A party can file a Complaint for Parentage – Allocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities (Custody) and Parenting in Juvenile Court. Instructions for the Complaint for Parentage Form can be found here.
After 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.
A pretrial conference is an opportunity for you and/or your attorney to meet with the prosecuting attorney or one of his or her assistant attorneys to discuss the allegations of the complaint and determine whether the case will be set for adjudication.
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.
Each case is decided on its own merits. A decision will be made after all parties have presented evidence and/or testimony
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 12th District Court of Appeals.