FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. 2011-11-3413
MORRISON, pro se, Appellant.
A. KACYON and RACHEL L. SMICK, Attorneys at Law, for
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
A. TEODOSIO JUDGE.
Brandy M. Morrison appeals the judgment of the Summit County
Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, entered
on January 6, 2017. We affirm in part, and reverse and remand
In November 2011, Brandy M. Morrison filed a complaint for
divorce against Chad J. Morrison, Sr., and on March 19, 2013,
a magistrate's decision was issued and a decree of
divorce was entered by the trial court. Ms. Morrison filed
objections, which were overruled by the trial court in
October 2013, and subsequently appealed to this Court. On May
28, 2014, we issued a decision affirming in part and
reversing in part, and remanded to the trial court for
In June 2014, Ms. Morrison filed several post-decree motions,
including a motion for modification of spousal support, which
came before the magistrate for hearing. On September 17,
2014, the magistrate issued a decision which was adopted by
the trial court, and Mr. Morrison subsequently filed an
objection, arguing that the decision was entered in error
because a hearing on remand from this Court had yet to take
On October 9, 2014, the hearing on remand was held before the
magistrate, and a decision was issued and adopted by the
trial court on December 26, 2014. In January 2015, Ms.
Morrison filed her objections to the magistrate's
decision, and two years later, on January 6, 2017, the trial
court overruled Ms. Morrison's objections.
Ms. Morrison now appeals, raising four assignments of error,
and Mr. Morrison has filed a cross-appeal, raising one
assignment of error. These assignments of error have been
reordered for the purposes of our review.
OF ERROR ONE
TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRE[T]ION BY NOT RULING ON
APPELLANT[']S ORAL MOTION FOR A CONTINUANCE AT TRIAL.
In her first assignment of error, Ms. Morrison argues the
trial court abused its discretion in overruling her objection
to the magistrate's failure to rule on her motion for a
continuance at the beginning of trial. We disagree.
"Generally, the decision to adopt, reject, or modify a
magistrate's decision lies within the discretion of the
trial court and should not be reversed on appeal absent an
abuse of discretion." Barlow v. Barlow, 9th
Dist. Wayne No. 08CA0055, 2009-Ohio-3788, ¶ 5. An abuse
of discretion is more than an error of judgment; it means
that the trial court was unreasonable, arbitrary, or
unconscionable in its ruling. Blakemore v.
Blakemore, 5 Ohio St.3d 217, 219 (1983). When applying
this standard, a reviewing court is precluded from simply
substituting its own judgment for that of the trial court.
Pons v. Ohio State Med. Bd, 66 Ohio St.3d 619, 621
This Court's decision of May 28, 2014, reversed in part
and remanded the order of the trial court, stating:
"Pursuant to R.C. 3109.04(C), the trial court was
required to determine whether it was in the best interest of
the children to name Husband the residential parent and to
make specific written findings of fact to support its
determination." On October 9, 2014, a hearing was held
before the magistrate, who stated at the commencement of the
The matter has been on remand from the Court of Appeals, 9th
District[, ] for whether it was the best interest of the
children to name husband the residential parent under
3109(F); whether either party has previously been convicted
or plead guilty to any criminal offense involving the act
that resulted in a child being neglected; * * * [whether]
either party has been convicted of or [plead] guilty to a
violation of [R.C.]2919.25 pursuant to [R.C] 3109.04; [and]
the issue of the wife's income * * *. That's what
we're here for.
Morrison proceeded to ask for a continuance of the hearing
"on the grounds that [the court had] not presented the
finding in facts [sic] pertaining to custody determination in
the final Divorce Decree regarding [R.C] 3109.04(C) as the
District Court of Appeals remanded these findings be
made." The magistrate responded that the issues before
the court were whether it was in the best interests of the
children for Mr. Morrison to be named the residential parent
and whether either parent had been convicted of or plead
guilty to a criminal offense. The magistrate then went
forward with the hearing without expressly ruling on Ms.
Morrison's motion to continue.
The magistrate stated at the outset that the hearing was in
response to this Court's directive remanding the case for
the trial court to make findings pursuant to R.C. 3109.04.
Correspondingly, findings of fact from the October 9, 2014,
hearing were set forth in the magistrate's decision
entered on December 26, 2014. Ms. Morrison fails to show how
going forward with the hearing prior to the trial court
making findings of fact prejudiced her. See
Civ.R.61. We conclude the trial court was not unreasonable,
arbitrary, or unconscionable and did not abuse its
Ms. Morrison's first ...