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Jenkins v. Jenkins

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District

July 31, 2013

RANI P. JENKINS, Plaintiff-Appellee,
TIMOTHY J. JENKINS, Defendant-Appellant.

Civil Appeal From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, NO. DR-1002500 Domestic Relations Division

Croswell & Adams Co., LPA, and Gregory L. Adams, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Moskowitz & Moskowitz, LLC, and James H. Moskowitz, for Defendant-Appellant.


DeWine, Judge.

{¶1} Is it okay for a trial court to include language in a divorce decree that says that following the divorce the parties should not molest, harass, disturb, torment, or annoy each other, and that they should otherwise leave each other alone to live their separate lives? We think it is. Therefore, we reject the first assignment of error raised by the appellant, Timothy Jenkins.

{¶2} We also find little merit to arguments raised by Dr. Jenkins contesting the amount of spousal and child support awarded by the court. We do find it necessary, however, to modify the property distribution in the decree as it relates to an automobile for which the court did not assign a value. In all other respects, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.


{¶3} Timothy and Rani Jenkins were married in 1995 and have three children. They agree that the termination date of their marriage was December 31, 2009. The parties were able to agree on most issues regarding their parenting time with their children. Issues about marital property, spousal support and child support were tried before the court. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court issued a final entry, and asked Ms. Jenkins to submit a decree of divorce for the court's adoption. The court entered the decree of divorce, which incorporated its final entry.


{¶4} In his first assignment of error, Dr. Jenkins asserts that the trial court abused its discretion when it included in the decree of divorce what he terms a "lifelong restraining order." He objects to this language:

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that henceforth the parties shall live separate and apart for the rest of their natural lives and shall not interfere with the other's right to quiet enjoyment and peaceful living. Neither party will molest, harass, disturb, torment, interfere with nor annoy the other in any manner, directly or indirectly, at home, at place of employment or anywhere as fully as if he or she were single and unmarried.

{¶5} While maintaining that he does not intend to "molest, harass, [or] disturb * * *" Ms. Jenkins in the future, Dr. Jenkins contends that the language is tantamount to an injunction, and that the court erred by failing to comply with Civ.R. 65. Specifically, he complains that the court did not provide notice, as required by Civ.R. 65(B), and it did not "set forth the reasons for [the order's] issuance, " as required by Civ.R. 65(D). Dr. Jenkins also argues that the court lacked authority to incorporate the contested language because Ms. Jenkins did not clearly and convincingly establish the required elements for the issuance of an injunction: a right to relief under the substantive law, a necessity to prevent irreparable harm, and a lack of an adequate remedy at law. See Procter & Gamble Co. v. Stoneham, 140 Ohio App.3d 260, 747 N.E.2d 268 (1st Dist.2000). We are not persuaded.

{¶6} We quickly dispose of the Civ.R. 65 arguments. Civ.R. 65(B) simply provides that a "preliminary injunction" shall not be issued without notice to the other side. A preliminary injunction is not at issue here. Rather, the language about which Dr. Jenkins complains was included in a final decree of divorce that was issued after a full adversarial hearing, a hearing of which Dr. Jenkins obviously had full notice. As to the Civ.R. 65(D) argument, the court's final entry sets forth more than ample justification for the contested language.

{¶7} Nor do we think it was outside the authority of the domestic relations court to include such language within a final decree of divorce. The parties are getting divorced, after all. The domestic relations court "has full equitable powers and jurisdiction appropriate to the determination of all domestic relations matters." R.C. 3105.011. The parties' quiet enjoyment and peaceful living separate from one another certainly falls within the ambit of "domestic relations matters." The language was well within the court's discretion, especially in light of the rancorous history of the divorce proceedings. Further, the language applies to both Ms. Jenkins ...

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