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Meeker v. Howard

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Jefferson

December 27, 2017

RANDY LEE MEEKER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
KELLIE ANN HOWARD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

         Civil Appeal from Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Department of Jefferson County, Ohio Case No. 06 DR 280

          For Plaintiff-Appellee Attorney Francesca T. Carinci.

          For Defendant-Appellant Attorney David A. Vukelic.

          JUDGES: Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Carol Ann Robb.

          OPINION

          DONOFRIO, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Kellie Howard, appeals from a Jefferson County Common Pleas Court judgment granting plaintiff-appellee, Randy Meeker's, motion to reallocate parental rights and responsibilities of the parties' son to him.

         {¶2} The parties were married on December 21, 2002. They share three children, H.H. (d.o.b. 7/30/02), R.H. (d.o.b. 8/11/04), and A.H. (d.o.b. 11/9/05).

         {¶3} On January 29, 2007, the parties were granted a decree of divorce. Appellant was named the residential parent of all three children and appellee was granted standard visitation.

         {¶4} In April 2015, H.H., with appellant's permission, began residing with appellee and his new wife. On May 23, 2016, appellee filed a motion for reallocation of parental rights and responsibilities as to H.H. The trial court granted appellee's motion. It also ordered appellant not to interfere with appellee's parenting time with the other two children, which issue had also been brought out at the hearing. Appellant did not appeal from this decision.

         {¶5} On September 21, 2016, appellee filed a motion for reallocation of parental rights and responsibilities as to R.H. In this motion, appellee also sought to have appellant held in contempt of court. He alleged appellant had denied him his visitation with R.H. in violation of the court's order.

         {¶6} A magistrate held a hearing on appellee's motion. The magistrate subsequently issued a decision granting both branches of appellee's motion.

         {¶7} The magistrate first referred to the previous order where the court reallocated parental rights and responsibilities as to H.H. The magistrate noted the court had previously made a finding that appellant deliberately interfered with appellee's parenting time as to R.H. and A.H. And the magistrate noted the court specifically ordered appellant not to interfere with visitation and that the children were to commence parenting time with appellee immediately.

         {¶8} Next, the magistrate made findings from the evidence offered. He found the testimony indicated that appellant has interfered with visitation and has alienated the children from appellee. As an example the magistrate pointed to an incident where appellee's wife and H.H. went to pick R.H. up for his summer visitation. When R.H. attempted to get in the car, appellant grabbed him by his shirt and told appellee's wife, "F*** you. Take me to court." The magistrate also pointed to testimony that appellant has not allowed appellee to talk to the children on the telephone and has not permitted him to visit for close to two years. The magistrate also found that R.H. suffers from an extreme learning disability and found that it did not appear that appellant worked with him or secured a private tutor.

         {¶9} The magistrate found appellant in contempt for violating the court's prior order regarding not interfering with visitation. Specifically, the magistrate found that appellant had not permitted appellee to have telephone contact ...


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