GEORGE A. STAHL Appellant
DANA L. STAHL Appellee
FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. 2013-05-1363
F. GIGIANO, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
C. RAGNER, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
JENNIFER HENSAL, Presiding Judge.
George Stahl appeals a decree of divorce entered by the
Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations
Division. For the following reasons, this Court affirms.
George and Dana Stahl married in May 2007 and had two
children together. They separated in January 2012, and after
their attempt to reconcile in 2013 failed, Husband filed for
divorce. At trial, Husband sought shared parenting while Wife
sought sole parental rights and responsibilities. Husband
argued that he should be the residential parent because
Wife's residence was dirty, she smoked in front of the
children, she allowed the children to ride on an all-terrain
vehicle (ATV), she allowed the children to get injured, she
allowed them to be around firearms, and she allowed her
children from other relationships to babysit their children
even though the older children spanked them. Wife argued that
she should have custody of the children because she had
always been their primary caregiver and because Husband was
emotionally and verbally abusive to her, her older children,
and the parties' children.
Following trial, the court entered a decree that granted the
parties a divorce. It rejected Husband's shared parenting
plan and allocated sole parental rights and responsibilities
to Wife. It also divided the parties' property. Husband
has appealed the trial court's decree, assigning four
errors. Because the first two assignments of error both
concern custody, this Court will consider them together.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT NAMED THE MOTHER THE LEGAL
CUSTODIAN OF THE CHILDREN AND ONLY GRANTED THE FATHER
STANDARD ORDER PARENTING TIME.
ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT DENIED FATHER'S PROPOSED
SHARED PARENTING PLAN.
Husband argues that the trial court incorrectly rejected his
proposed shared parenting plan and incorrectly made Wife the
legal custodian of the children. A trial court possesses
broad discretion with respect to its determination of the
allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, and its
decision will not be overturned absent an abuse of
discretion. See Miller v. Miller, 37 Ohio St.3d 71,
74 (1988). Thus, the trial court's determination will not
be disturbed unless the court's attitude was
unreasonable, arbitrary, or unconscionable. Blakemore v.
Blakemore, 5 Ohio St.3d 217, 219 (1983).
If only one parent requests shared parenting and files a
proposed plan, the court may approve the plan if it is in the
best interest of the children. R.C. 3109.04(D)(1)(a)(iii).
Whether to approve the plan "is discretionary with the
court." R.C. 3109.04(D)(1)(b). If the plan is not in the
best interest of the children, the court shall not approve
the plan. Id. In determining whether to adopt a
shared parenting plan, the trial court must consider the
factors listed in Revised Code Section 3109.04(F)(2). Those
factors include the ability of the parents to cooperate and
make decisions jointly about the children, the ability of
each parent to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and
contact between the children and the other parent, any
history of or potential for abuse by either parent, the
geographic proximity of the parents to each other, and the
recommendation of the guardian ad litem of the children, if
there is one. R.C. 3109.04(F)(2).
In determining the best interest of children, the court must
consider "all relevant factors, " including those
listed in Section 3109.04(F)(1). R.C. 3109.04(F)(1). The
factors listed in Section 3109.04(F)(1) include the wishes of
the children's parents, the wishes of the children, the
children's interaction and interrelationship with their
parents and siblings, the children's adjustment to their
home, school, and community, the mental and physical health
of all persons involved in the situation, the parent more
likely to honor and facilitate court-approved parenting time
rights, whether either parent has failed to make all child
support payments, whether either parent or any member of the
household of either parent previously has been convicted of
or pleaded guilty to any criminal offense involving any act
that resulted in a child being an abused child or a neglected
child, whether ...