TERRY L. MCWILLIAMS Appellee
WALTER R. MCWILLIAMS Appellant
FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. DR-2017-05-1420
ROE FOX, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
WAGNER, Attorney at Law, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
S. CALLAHAN, JUDGE.
Walter McWilliams ("Husband") appeals from the
judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic
Relations Division, which denied his motion for relief from
the final Decree of Divorce. For the following reasons, this
The McWilliamses were married in 1985 and have four adult
children. Terry McWilliams ("Wife") filed a
complaint for divorce in May 2017. Wife served Husband via
certified mail with the complaint and other filings and
orders, including an order scheduling an uncontested divorce
hearing on August 22, 2017. Husband appeared pro se and Wife
appeared with counsel at that hearing. In accordance with the
local rule, the trial court converted the uncontested divorce
hearing to a pretrial. Following the pretrial, Husband, pro
se, filed a waiver of service of the complaint, but failed to
file an answer.
A second pretrial was scheduled for November 8, 2017. The day
before this pretrial, Wife filed a motion to continue the
pretrial asserting that 1) Husband had contacted Wife's
attorney and indicated that he was unable to attend the
pretrial due to his recent discharge from the hospital, and
2) the parties were close to reaching an agreement. The
motion was granted and a new pretrial scheduled for March 7,
In lieu of attending the pretrial on November 8, 2017, Wife
drove Husband to her attorney's office where a separation
agreement was executed by both of them. A week later, Wife
filed a motion to accelerate the final hearing date based
upon the executed separation agreement. The trial court
granted Wife's motion and scheduled an uncontested
divorce hearing on December 12, 2017. Husband did not appear
at this hearing, while Wife and her counsel did. The same
day, the trial court granted Wife a divorce and approved and
incorporated the terms of the separation agreement into the
final Decree of Divorce. The clerk of courts issued a Civ.R.
58(B) notice, along with a certified copy of the final Decree
of Divorce, by regular mail to Husband on December 12, 2017.
No appeal was taken from the final Decree of Divorce.
Three months later Husband, through counsel, filed a motion
for relief from judgment. The trial court held a hearing and
orally denied Husband's Civ.R. 60(B) motion. In its
subsequent written decision, the trial court determined that
while the motion was timely, Husband failed to establish that
he was entitled to relief under one of the provisions of
Civ.R. 60(B). Husband has timely appealed, assigning two
assignments of error. To facilitate the analysis, this Court
will consolidate the assignments of error.
OF ERROR NO. 1
TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN FAILING TO GRANT
[HUSBAND'S] MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM ...