Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Champaign
Court Case No. 14JG23 (Appeal from Family Court)
SR. Appellant-Pro Se
NATALIE J. BAHAN, Atty. Reg. No. 0079304, 118 Court Avenue,
Bellefontaine, Ohio 43311 Attorney for Appelle-A.C.
1} Plaintiff A.V. appeals from an order modifying a
shared parenting order. For the reasons set forth below, we
affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further
proceedings in accordance with this opinion.
Facts and Procedural History
2} The parties, A.V. and A.C., are the biological
parents of the minor child A.A.V. who was born in 2012. A.V.
and A.C. were never married. The parties lived together in
Urbana with the minor child until June 23, 2014 when A.V.
filed a motion for emergency custody or, in the alternative,
shared parenting. A hearing was conducted on September 30,
2014. Both parties appeared without counsel. Following the
hearing, the trial court entered a judgment ordering shared
parenting. The order stated that A.C. would have the child
from Sunday at 8:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.pm on Wednesday and
that A.V. would have the child from Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.
until Friday at 8:00 p.m., and that the parents would
alternate the weekends. The order further provided that
holidays would be allocated in accordance with the Champaign
County Family Court Standard Order of Parenting Time. The
court declined to award child support due to the nearly equal
parenting time. As the child was not of school age, neither
party was designated as the residential parent. Neither party
3} On March 5, 2015, A.C. filed a pro se motion for
change of custody. A.V. filed a response, pro se, in which he
alleged that A.C. was not complying with the shared parenting
order. A hearing was scheduled for June 25, 2015, however,
A.C. filed a notice withdrawing her motion on June 11, 2015.
The trial court entered a notice of the dismissal and
cancellation of the hearing. A.V. filed a response in which
he stated that the court erred by failing to hold a hearing
on A.C.'s motion and that he believed someone in the
clerk's office helped A.C. prepare her handwritten notice
withdrawing her motion. The trial court filed an entry noting
that because A.C. had withdrawn her motion, which was the
only motion pending before the court, there was no issue
4} On September 1, 2015, A.C. filed a notice of her
intent to relocate to Columbus. A.V. filed a response to the
relocation notice and a request for a hearing in which he
asked for a change of custody and to be designated
residential and custodial parent. On September 30, 2015, A.C.
filed a notice withdrawing her intent to relocate. On
November 30, 2015, A.V. filed a notice withdrawing his motion
for a change of custody.
5} A.C. obtained counsel and on December 3, 2015,
filed a motion requesting an order terminating shared
parenting and an order granting her sole custody of the
child. The trial court, on December 8, 2015, filed an order
ruling that since A.V.'s motion had been withdrawn,
A.C.'s motion was rendered moot. A.C, though it seems her
motion could have proceeded despite A.V.'s withdrawal of
his motion, did not object nor appeal.
6} On April 11, 2016, A.C. again filed a motion to
terminate shared parenting and for an award of sole custody.
In May, the trial court ordered the appointment of a Guardian
Ad Litem ("GAL"). A.V. filed a response as well as
a motion seeking sole custody or in the alternative for the
court to continue the order of shared parenting. A.V.
obtained counsel in July 2016. Thereafter, both parties
engaged in discovery.
7} A hearing was conducted on January 24, 2017. The
GAL filed a report indicating that the parties should
continue with the shared parenting order. On February 13,
2017, the trial court entered a judgment stating that both
A.V. and A.C. had agreed to maintain shared parenting. The
court further found that the parties agreed to: (1) permit
telephone contact with the child by either parent at all
times; (2) use the court's "Family Wizard"
system to communicate with each other regarding the child;
(3) provide the other parent with notice of any medical
appointments; (4) the right of first refusal of parenting
time if the parent with the child needs child care for longer
than an eight hour period; and (5) the division of parenting
during the child's Christmas vacation once she begins
8} The parties, however, were unable to reach an
agreement on three issues: (1) which parent would be
designated as the residential parent for school purposes; (2)
a modification to the parenting time exchange schedule; and
(3) which parent should have parenting time during the
child's 2017 spring break. The court found that it was in
the child's best interest to attend school in the Urbana
City School District. The court also modified the exchange
time from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., finding that the earlier
exchange time was better for the child as it did not
interfere with her bedtime. Finally, the court noted that its
original decision, made prior to the child's enrollment
in school, did not provide for parenting time during spring
break. The court also noted that the parents agreed to
alternate years for future spring break vacations, but that