Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Champaign
MATTHEW T. HELMS Plaintiff-Appellee
GENEVA L. HELMS (nka BRINKMAN) Defendant-Appellant
from Champaign County Family Court No. 2010-DR-180
MATTHEW T. HELMS, Plaintiff-Appellee-Pro Se
L. BRINKMAN, Defendant-Appellant-Pro Se
1} Geneva Helms (now known as Brinkman) appeals pro
se from a judgment of the Champaign County Court of Common
Pleas Family Court Division granting parenting time to her
ex-husband Matthew Helms. She contends that the trial court
abused its discretion by denying her request for restricted,
supervised visitation. We conclude that the court properly
exercised its discretion. Accordingly, the judgment of the
trial court is affirmed.
Facts and Procedural History
2} Helms and Brinkman have one minor child born of
their marriage. The parties were divorced in 2011. Brinkman
was granted sole custody of the child. Due to a significant
period of time in which Helms and the child had no contact,
Helms received restricted visitation consisting of six hours
of supervised visitation every other Saturday.
3} In October 2015, Helms filed a motion to hold
Brinkman in contempt with regard to parenting time. During a
pretrial held on November 19, 2015, Helms made an oral motion
to modify parenting time. At a final pretrial hearing in
January 2016, Helms was granted parenting time "as the
parties agree." The parenting time was ordered to be
supervised by Helms' sister. On August 3, 2016, the
parenting time was adjusted to unsupervised visitation for
two hours every other Sunday.
4} On August 17, 2016, Brinkman filed an emergency
ex parte motion to prevent Helms from exercising parenting
time. Attached to the motion was a copy of a citation for
operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol
issued to Helms on June 19, 2016. The motion was denied, but
the trial court issued an order requiring Helms to refrain
from consuming, or being under the influence of, alcohol
during his parenting time.
5} Helms dismissed the motion for contempt. A
hearing on the issue of modification of parenting time was
conducted on September 20, 2016. Both parties appeared pro
6} Helms testified that he does not know much about
the minor child, but wants more visitation in order to be a
part of the child's life. He testified that the
visitation with the child was going well. Helms admitted he
was convicted of driving under the influence in June. He
testified that he had been sober for over a year prior to the
conviction, and that he does not drink around the child.
7} Helms' father, William Helms, testified that
he was present for at least four of the visitations between
Helms and the child. He testified that the visits were good
and that there were no problems during visitation. He
testified that Helms has matured, and that he is now a good
father. He testified that it would be good for the child to
spend time with Helms and his extended family. He also
testified that the child is happy, and that Brinkman has done
a good job raising the child.
8} Brinkman testified that she believes Helms has
mental health issues that have not been addressed. She
testified that Helms was violent with her during the course
of their marriage, and that Helms informed her that he heard
voices in his head.She testified that the child is
"wary" and "scared" of his father.
Brinkman also testified that the child enjoys visitation with
Helms. She testified that Helms' current wife has been
referred to childrens' services in connection with her
own children. Brinkman testified that the minor child has an
anxiety disorder because of the "whole situation."
She testified that she is worried about her child's
safety with Helms.
9} A Guardian Ad Litem was appointed by the court.
The GAL issued an initial report, filed on January 15, 2016,
recommending that Helms be permitted, at most, supervised
visitation as agreed to by Brinkman. The GAL noted that Helms