FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. DN 16-05-0399
E. BRIGHTBILL, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and HEAVEN DIMARTINO,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
MICHAEL J. WARKO, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.
ELLEN LESLIE, Guardian ad Litem.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
Mother appeals the judgment of the Summit County Court of
Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, that granted legal custody
of her child C.C.-L. to Father. This Court affirms.
Mother is the biological mother of C.C.-L. (d.o.b. 12/6/11)
and R.C. (d.o.b. 3/17/16). Father is the biological father of
C.C.-L., as well as two other children by his current wife.
Mother and Father shared parenting of C.C.-L. pursuant to a
domestic relations court order. Neither R.C, nor her
biological father, is a party to this appeal.
Shortly after R.C. was born, she suffered symptoms of
withdrawal due to Mother's drug use during pregnancy. The
infant was administered morphine in the NICU to abate her
symptoms. Based on these conditions, Summit County Children
Services Board ("CSB") filed complaints, alleging
R.C. to be an abused and dependent child, and C.C.-L. to be a
dependent child. A few days later, the parties stipulated
that CSB be granted an interim order of protective
supervision of the children, while maintaining them in
At the adjudicatory hearing, the parties entered into
negotiations and stipulated that both children were
dependent. CSB dismissed the allegation of abuse regarding
R.C. Father moved for temporary custody of C.C.-L. After the
initial dispositional hearing, the juvenile court maintained
C.C.-L. in Mother's legal custody under an order of
protective supervision to CSB. The agency's case plan was
adopted as the order of the court. The case plan included
objectives for Mother and R.C.'s father, specifically
that the two submit to a drug and alcohol assessment and
follow all treatment recommendations. There were no case plan
objectives for Father.
Two-and-a-half months later, Father again filed a motion for
temporary custody of C.C.-L. The guardian ad litem
recommended that the court place the child in Father's
temporary custody. After a subsequent review hearing, the
magistrate granted Father's motion and placed C.C.-L. in
the temporary custody of Father. No order of protective
supervision was issued as to C.C.-L.; although R.C. remained
under the protective supervision of the agency, as that child
remained in Mother's care. The magistrate further ordered
that Mother would have supervised visitation with C.C.-L.
twice a week for two hours each day. Mother did not file
objections to the magistrate's decision.
Prior to the next review hearing, Father and Mother each
filed a motion for legal custody of C.C.-L. The magistrate
held a hearing on the parents' competing motions. At the
hearing, CSB orally moved to terminate the order of
protective supervision in effect for R.C, but otherwise did
not seek to modify the current custodial dispositions of the
children. At the conclusion of the hearing, the magistrate
issued a decision granting Father's motion and awarding
legal custody of C.C.-L. to him. The magistrate further
ordered that Mother would continue to have supervised
visitations with the child, but that she could petition the
court for unsupervised visits once she had successfully
completed a substance abuse assessment and all treatment
Mother filed timely objections to the magistrate's
decision. She argued that the magistrate did not consider two
best interest factors, specifically (1) the child's
interactions and interrelationships with Mother and R.C., and
(2) the child's custodial history. In addition, Mother
argued that the magistrate erred because the evidence
demonstrated that she had remedied the conditions that led to
the removal of C.C.-L. Although a transcript of the
proceedings was later filed with the juvenile court, Mother
did not supplement her objections with citations to the
record. Father responded in opposition to Mother's
objections, while CSB took no position and declined to file a
The juvenile court overruled Mother's objections. It
found that the evidence relating to the best interest factors
in R.C. 2151.414(D)(1)(a-e) demonstrated that an award of
legal custody to Father was in the best interest of C.C.-L.
The juvenile court further ordered that Mother would continue
to have supervised visits with the child, but that she could
petition for unsupervised visitation after successfully
completing a substance abuse assessment and following all
treatment recommendations. Mother filed a timely appeal in
which she raises ...