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M.K. v. A.K.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Perry

November 2, 2017

M.K. Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
A.K. NKA A.H. Defendant-Appellant

         Appeal from the Perry County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 10-DS-00062

          For Plaintiff-Appellee: HOLLY P. REGOLI.

          For Defendant-Appellant: KYLE C. HENDERSON.

          JUDGES: Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, P.J. Hon. W. Scott Gwin, J. Hon. John W. Wise, J.

          OPINION

          DELANEY, P.J.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant A.K. nka A.H. appeals the March 10, 2017 judgment entry of the Perry County Court of Common Pleas.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         {¶2} Plaintiff-Appellee M.K. ("Father") and Defendant-Appellant A.K. nka A.H. ("Mother") were granted a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage on March 23, 2010. Two children were born as issue of the marriage: N.K., born on October 1, 2004, and D.K., born on May 14, 2009.

         {¶3} The Decree named Mother as the residential parent and legal custodian. Father had parenting time every other weekend and midweek.

         {¶4} On December 11, 2015, Father filed a Motion for Reallocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities. In the motion, Father alleged he was concerned about Mother's care for the children. He stated the children appeared dirty and when Father picked up the children at Mother's home, Father noticed the outside of the house was dirty and there was dog feces inside the home. Father also claimed Mother was not supervising the children's schoolwork because D.K.'s reading log had not been signed by Mother for the month of November. Father finally alleged Mother had not taken care of the children's medical needs. Father claimed Mother had never taken the children to the dentist.

         {¶5} The trial court appointed a Guardian ad Litem on December 23, 2015. The GAL report was filed on June 16, 2016.

         {¶6} Mother requested the trial court conduct an in camera interview of the children. The magistrate conducted the interview with the children on September 7, 2016.

         {¶7} A hearing on the Motion for Reallocation of Parental Rights and Responsibilities was held before the magistrate on September 9, 2016. The following evidence was adduced at the hearing.

         {¶8} Mother lives in Lancaster, Ohio with the two children, her husband, and three dogs. At the time of the hearing, one of the dogs had eight puppies. Mother's home was a two-story home and each child had his own bedroom.

         {¶9} During the 2014-2015 school year, the children were late to school approximately 30 times. Mother was responsible for transporting the children to school and had difficulty establishing a morning routine. In the 2015-2016 school year, the children were not late to school because they took the bus. The children were average students at school. The school did not note any hygiene issues with the children. Father reported that Mother neglected to sign D.K.'s reading log for one month. Mother stated the reading log was not signed because D.K. lost his reading log twice and it was replaced. D.K. did lose recess time because he failed to keep up his reading log. Father was not involved in the children's school and rarely attended their school functions. The children were happy at their school in Lancaster.

         {¶10} Mother was employed as a hair stylist. Her husband was a forklift driver. The children cared for and got along with Mother's husband.

         {¶11} Father resided in McArthur, Ohio with his girlfriend of four years and her two children. His home was owned by his girlfriend's stepfather and was located on a cattle farm where Father was employed. There were four dogs in Father's home. Father did not exercise his mid- week visitation due to the distance between his home in Vinton County and Mother's home in Lancaster. When the children stayed with Father, the children shared a bedroom. During the week, Father worked on the farm for most of the day. The children were able to play outside and Father was available to them.

         {¶12} Mother and Father's girlfriend did not get along. There were text records showing an argument between Mother and Father's girlfriend. At the hearing, Father's girlfriend stated she no longer had issues with Mother and regretted her behavior towards Mother. After Father filed the motion for reallocation, Mother did not give Father extra visitation time with the children.

         {¶13} Father brought the motion for reallocation of parental rights due to his concerns for Mother's care for the children. Father understood the children did not go to bed at Mother's until 1:00 a.m. He observed that when he picked up the children for visitation, the children's clothes were often dirty, torn, and/or improperly fitting. The youngest child often had soiled underpants. Father stated the children went to school wearing those clothes. He also observed when he picked up the children, the outside of Mother's home and front porch were cluttered with rubbish. Father discovered that Mother had never taken the children to a dentist or a well-child physical. Father took the children to the dentist and the youngest child required two crowns. Father caught the children up on their vaccination schedule. Mother stated because the children did not have adult teeth, the children's pediatrician checked the children's teeth and did not observe any issues. Mother also took the children to the doctor as needed. The GAL recommended to Mother that she take the children to see a dentist.

         {¶14} The GAL conducted home visits with Father and Mother. Father's home was located on a farm in a rural area. During the GAL's announced visit, Father's home appeared neat and tidy. The children of Father's girlfriend shared a bedroom, while D.K. and N.K. shared a bedroom. D.K. and N.K. were present with Father's girlfriend's ...


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