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Cox v. Doss

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Champaign

June 28, 2019

THOMAS R. COX Petitioner-Appellee
v.
JOSEPH H. DOSS Respondent-Appellant

          Appeal from Common Pleas Court-Family Court Division No. 2018-DR-102

          MICHAEL B. MILLER, Attorney for Petitioner-Appellee.

          REGINA ROSEMARY RICHARDS, Attorney for Respondent-Appellant.

          OPINION

          TUCKER, J.

         {¶ 1} Respondent-appellant Joseph Doss appeals from the trial court's order granting a civil stalking protection order (CSPO) to his estranged wife's parents. He first contends that the general division of the common pleas court erred by transferring the matter to the domestic relations-juvenile-probate division of the common pleas court ("the family court"). He also contends that the evidence submitted during the full hearing was insufficient to establish the necessary elements of R.C. 2903.211 by a preponderance of the evidence. Finally, he contends that the CSPO violated his right to parent his children.

         {¶ 2} Because Joseph failed to raise any objection to the transfer of the case, we conclude that any error has been waived, and we cannot find that this matter rises to the level of plain error. Further, we conclude that the evidence supported the issuance of the CSPO. Finally, the record does not support Joseph's claim that the issuance of the CSPO impinged upon his right to parent his children. Accordingly, the judgment is affirmed.

         I. Course of the Proceedings

         {¶ 3} Holly and Joseph Doss[1] are married and have two minor children as a result of their marriage. In 2018, Holly filed a complaint for divorce in the Champaign County family court. On April 11, 2018, Holly and the two children moved into the home of Holly's parents, Thomas and Deborah Cox.

         {¶ 4} On May 8, 2018, Thomas Cox filed a petition for a CSPO in the general division of the Champaign County Court of Common Pleas. The petition included Deborah as a person seeking protection under the order. An ex parte order of protection was issued the same day.

         {¶ 5} A full hearing on the CSPO was conducted before a magistrate on July 25, 2018. On August 6, 2018, before a decision was rendered by the magistrate, the general division judge entered an order transferring the matter to the family court. The order transferring the matter to the family court stated, in pertinent part, as follows:

Magistrate Schockling and the [General Division] Court are both concerned that the decision reached by either Magistrate Schockling or the Court * * * could conflict with the orders of the Family Court as they pertain to Family Court rulings not only on Petitioner Holly Doss' Domestic Relations Protection Order, but also to orders of the Family Court as they pertain to Family Court rulings in the divorce proceedings.
For example, this Court could grant the Petition, but modify the order to allow the Respondent to be present at Petitioner Cox's residence for the purpose of visiting his children when the Petitioner Cox or his wife are not present in the house. Such an order could be contrary to a potential Family Court ruling that could order the Respondent not to have contact with Petitioner Holly Doss or the children unless it follows a visitation schedule approved by the Family Court.
Contrary rulings between the General Division and the Family Court could result in confusion for the parties and any law enforcement officers that are called by either Petitioner Cox, Petitioner Cox's wife, Petitioner Holly Doss, or the Respondent in an effort to enforce the order that they believe is most advantageous to them.
Relevant to this concern, the [Court] notes the following:
1. Holly Doss and Joseph Doss are currently involved in divorce proceedings. Holly Doss filed a Petition for Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order against Joseph Doss. The Family Court granted an ex parte protection order for Holly Doss.
2. Concurrent with the Family Court proceedings, the Coxes filed for a civil stalking protection order against Joseph Doss in this Court. The Coxes were granted an ex parte protection order on May 8, 2018.
3. While the Family Court awarded possession of the marital residence * * * to Holly Doss * * *, the structure is currently uninhabitable due to fire damage. * * * As a result, Holly Doss and the children currently reside with her parents, Thomas and Deborah Cox, the Petitioners in the action in the case at bar.
4. It may be sometime before Holly Doss can live independently of her parents * * *. Thus, the duration of the current living arrangement is indefinite, and a reason for a single court to hear both matters.
5. Since Holly Doss and the children will be residing with her Petitioner-parents for the foreseeable future, having two different courts consider their respective petitions for protection orders against Joseph Doss creates the ...

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