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Stahl v. Stahl

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Summit

June 7, 2017

GEORGE A. STAHL Appellant
v.
DANA L. STAHL Appellee

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. 2013-05-1363

          DANIEL F. GIGIANO, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          JOHN C. RAGNER, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          JENNIFER HENSAL, Presiding Judge.

         {¶1} 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.

         I.

         {¶2} 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.

         {¶3} 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.

         II.

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.

         {¶4} 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).

         {¶5} 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).

         {¶6} 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 ...


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