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Peck v. Peck

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Lake

June 28, 2019

JASON PECK, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
JESSICA PECK, Defendant-Appellant.

          Civil Appeal from the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, Case No. 2013 DR 000349.

          Jason Peck, pro se, (Plaintiff-Appellee).

          Heidi L. Callender, (For Defendant-Appellant).

          Laurie Koerner, Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A., (Guardian ad Litem).

          OPINION

          MATT LYNCH, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Jessica Peck nka Dressig, appeals the decision of the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, denying her motion for change of parental rights and responsibilities and terminating the parties' shared parenting plan and awarding custody of the minor children to plaintiff-appellee, Jason Peck. For the following reasons, we affirm the decision of the court below.

          {¶2} On January 15, 2014, the parties were granted a decree of divorce which incorporated their shared parenting plan governing their respective rights and responsibilities for parenting two minor children born as issue of the marriage. Dressig was named residential parent for school purposes.

         {¶3} On December 11, 2017, at 9:26 a.m., Peck filed an Ex Parte Motion for Change of Custody, seeking sole custody of the minor children, based on Dressig's "numerous criminal activities" and the children's exposure to "dangerous situations."

         {¶4} On December 11, 2017, at 11:00 a.m., Dressig filed a Motion for Change of Parental Rights and Responsibilities, seeking to suspend Peck's parenting time "pending a full hearing on all issues," based on Peck's failure to return the children to her custody after visitation.

         {¶5} On December 11, 2017, at 11:12 a.m., Dressig re-filed the Motion for Change of Parental Rights and Responsibilities, with the additional caption Ammended [sic] Emergency ex parte Motion. In all other respects, the amended motion was identical to the prior motion.

         {¶6} On December 11, 2017, at 2:01 p.m., the domestic relations court ruled that Peck's "Ex Parte Motion for a Change of Custody" and Dressig's "Amended Emergency Ex Parte motion" shall be set for hearing. The court scheduled a Motion Hearing for December 21, 2017, "12-11-17 ExParte."[1] Finally, the court ordered the "current order as to custody and parenting time" to remain in effect and the children returned to Dressig forthwith.

         {¶7} On December 27, a pretrial was scheduled for February 8, 2018.

         {¶8} On February 7, 2018, Dressig filed a motion to continue the February 8 pretrial, which motion the domestic relations court denied.

         {¶9} At the February 8 pretrial, the domestic relations court ordered the parties to submit to drug testing.

         {¶10} On March 19, 2018, Dressig filed an Emergency Ex-parte Motion for Change of Parental Rights and Responsibilities, seeking "emergency custody of the minor children." The domestic relations court scheduled a pretrial for April 2, 2018.

         {¶11} On March 29, 2018, the domestic relations court determined that Dressig's March 19 Emergency Ex-parte Motion lacked the statutorily required affidavit and granted her until May 15 to file an amended motion which includes the affidavit.

         {¶12} Also on March 29, Dressig caused a subpoena to issue to Lindsey Walker, a social worker with the Lake County Department of Job and Family Services, ordering her appearance as a witness at the April 2 pretrial and the production of "any and all documentation" related to "the above referenced case."

         {¶13} On March 30, 2019, the Lake County Department of Job and Family Services moved to quash the subpoena on the grounds that "records kept by a public children services agency regarding investigations of families and children are confidential" pursuant to R.C. 5153.17.[2]

         {¶14} At the April 2 pretrial, the domestic relations court re-appointed Laurie Koerner, the minor children's former guardian ad litem, as guardian ad litem. The court proceeded to an in camera interview of the children with Koerner present. Following the interview, the court found that "exigent circumstances exist" to suspend the ...


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