RANDY S. CUTLIP Appellant
PAMELA J. GIZZO Appellee
FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. DR-2005-01-0375
C. LOEPP, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
J. GIZZO, pro se, Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
A. SCHAFER JUDGE.
Plaintiff-Appellant, Randy Cutlip, appeals the January 27,
2017 judgment entry of the Summit County Court of Common
Pleas, Domestic Relations Division. Based on the following,
this Court affirms.
Cutlip was married to Defendant-Appellee, Pamela Gizzo, on
July 4, 2001. The parties had a child, R.C., on June 18,
2002. Cutlip and Gizzo were divorced on September 29, 2006.
R.C. was a minor at the time of the divorce. The divorce
decree included a shared parenting plan regarding R.C. Over
the course of nearly nine years post-decree, the parties
continually filed motions concerning custody and visitation
of R.C. On June 25, 2015, the court adopted an "agreed
judgment entry" resolving custody and visitation
matters and stating the parties' respective parental
rights and responsibilities.
An incident occurred on September 16, 2015, involving a
physical altercation between R.C. and Gizzo. In response to
the incident, Gizzo called the police. This resulted in
R.C.'s arrest and detention at the Medina County Juvenile
Detention Center. While in detention, R.C. made abuse
allegations against Gizzo, refused release from the detention
center, and refused to return to Gizzo's home. The Medina
County Juvenile Court appointed a guardian ad litem for R.C.
Subsequent to the guardian ad litem's investigation and
recommendation, R.C. was released from detention and returned
to Gizzo's home.
Cutlip filed a "motion to modify custody/parenting plan
and/or visitation" and "motion to modify child
support upon either substantial change in visitation or
residential parent" on October 21, 2015. In the motion,
he argued a change in circumstances surrounding the September
15, 2015, domestic violence incident resulting in R.C.'s
arrest. Gizzo submitted her opposition to Cutlip's motion
on December 14, 2015.
The visiting judge presiding over this matter in the trial
court held an in camera interview with R.C. on May 25, 2016.
The matter was set for a trial on the custody issues.
Meanwhile, on September 23, 2016, Gizzo filed a motion to
modify parenting time. The custody trial commenced on
September 29, 2016 and continued intermittently, concluding
on December 5, 2016. Both Cutlip and Gizzo were represented
by counsel in the trial court. R.C. testified during the
custody trial, but the record does not indicate that she was
represented by counsel.
In the January 27, 2017 entry, the trial court found that
"throughout the years both [Cutlip and Gizzo] have been
unable to cooperate or effectively communicate with each
other" and that both Cutlip and Gizzo, "during the
pendency of this case, have been involved with allegations
and negative events that have caused the parties to be unable
to trust or communicate with each other." Further, the
trial court found that Cutlip had not acted in good faith
with respect to court-ordered family counseling, and that
Cutlip believes counseling to be unnecessary because he does
not acknowledge any problems in his relationship with R.C.
The trial court took issue with Cutlip's "fail[ure]
to recognize his responsibility to assist [R.C] to have a
better relationship with [Gizzo, ]" because the trial
court found facilitating a better relationship to be in the
best interest of R.C.
Recognizing that Gizzo "is designated residential/legal
custodian" the trial court found that both parents need
to "be involved, informed, and consulted about concerns
of [R.C.]" and that both Cutlip and Gizzo need to work
together for the benefit of R.C. The trial court indicated
that it considered the testimony of the several witnesses
called by each party, reviewed the evidence, and considered
the expert report of Dr. Craig Childress-which it found to be
"insightful" but "speculative" and of
"little assistance." The trial court made a finding
that it had considered and evaluated the sworn testimony of
R.C. and assessed the event concerning her detention.
Based on its findings the court denied Cutlip's motion to
modify custody and child support. The trial court did order
certain modifications to the June 25, 2015 agreed judgment
entry, but otherwise left the entry in effect. Cutlip has