Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
From: Hamilton County Juvenile Court Trial No. F11-2183
Charles H. Bartlett, Jr., for Appellant-Father,
Cannon, pro se Appellee-Mother.
Appellant father appeals the January 19, 2018 judgment of the
Hamilton County Juvenile Court. The juvenile court overruled
father's objections to the July 12, 2017 magistrate's
decision, which designated appellee mother the residential
parent and legal custodian of the parties' minor child,
A.C. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the trial
court's judgment and remand the cause for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Background and Procedural History
Mother and father are the biological parents of one minor
child, A.C., born on March 24, 2011. On September 16, 2011,
father filed a petition for legal custody of A.C. The
petition was dismissed on May 30, 2012, because father did
not appear in court to move the petition forward. On July 12,
2012, father again filed for legal custody. On April 19,
2013, shared parenting was granted by agreement of father and
mother, pursuant to R.C. 3109.04. Both parents were
designated residential parents and legal custodians, were
required to agree on school placement of A.C. prior to
enrollment, and would exercise equal parenting time.
On July 22, 2014, father filed a motion to terminate shared
parenting, requesting full legal custody of A.C. On August 5,
2015, father and mother agreed to a revised shared-parenting
plan, which the trial court approved and incorporated into an
agreed entry. On January 11, 2016, mother filed a motion to
terminate shared parenting, requesting full legal custody of
A.C with modified parenting time for father. Mother also
filed a contempt motion against father. On March 3, 2017,
while mother's motion was still pending, father filed a
contempt motion against mother.
A hearing on all pending motions was held on March 30 and
June 5, 2017. Both father and mother testified, and presented
their own witnesses. Both father and mother admitted that
their communication is poor and they can only communicate
through Our Family Wizard, a website to help parents manage
Mother testified that father was late getting A.C. to school
on several occasions. Mother submitted A.C.'s 2015-2016
report card, which showed that A.C. had five tardy arrivals
in the first quarter, one in the second and third quarters,
and three in the fourth quarter. Father testified that he was
late getting A.C. to school on three occasions. He explained
that when he dropped A.C. off at school, mother would be at
the school dropping off her other child and would talk to
A.C., making her late.
Mother testified that father put A.C. into two different
after-school care programs without telling mother in advance,
and that A.C., who was five years old at the time, had to
take a bus to one of the facilities. Father testified that he
did not know why A.C. was in one of the after-school care
programs-the program run by the Salvation Army-but he did not
think that he enrolled her. Father's testimony on this
issue differed from his answer in mother's request for
admission, wherein he stated that mother had been informed
about the Salvation Army program by father and through the
Mother testified to issues with child exchanges. On October
26, 2015, mother had arranged for A.C.'s grandmother to
pick up A.C. from father, but father refused to turn A.C.
over to her. Mother claimed that there were times when father
could not pick up A.C. from preschool and mother had to make
arrangements to get her. Father testified that there were
eight to ten times where mother had failed to exchange A.C.
when it was his parenting time. Father claimed that mother
was late to exchanges about once per week. Father also
claimed that one time mother did not pick up A.C. from her
daycare and A.C. was there until 10:30 p.m.
Father testified to A.C.'s behavioral problems at school.
At a parent/teacher conference regarding A.C.'s behavior,
the school staff recommended that A.C. see a counselor. The
revised shared-parenting plan required mother and father to
make decisions on healthcare, including counseling, together.
Father testified that he told mother he was taking A.C. to
counseling, but mother refuted this claim. Father took A.C.
to the counselor recommended by the school for about a year.
She attended counseling at least once a week, but sometimes
up to three times per week. Father said he saw improvements
in A.C.'s behavior. When A.C. stopped attending
counseling, her behavior worsened, and the school again
recommended that A.C. see a counselor. Mother took A.C. to a
separate counselor for treatment. Mother admitted that she
did not tell father about the separate counseling.
Father testified that mother refused to give him A.C.'s
medical insurance cards. The revised shared-parenting plan
required mother to provide father with a copy of the health
and dental insurance cards. Father admitted that all of the
health insurance information was posted on Our Family Wizard.
When questioned, father did not know the name of A.C.'s
doctor or dentist. Father insisted that mother hid this
information from him.
Following the two separate days of hearings, the magistrate
issued a decision that set forth various findings of fact and
conclusions of law. The magistrate determined, pursuant to
R.C. 3109.04(F)(2), that it was in A.C.'s best interest
to terminate shared parenting; and, pursuant to R.C.
3109.04(F)(1), that it was in A.C.'s best interest for
mother to be designated her residential parent and legal
custodian. The magistrate dismissed mother's and
father's motions for contempt, finding that both parents
violated the court-ordered revised shared-parenting plan. The
magistrate also entered a schedule for father's parenting
Father filed objections to the magistrate's decision and
moved to set aside the order, claiming it was against the
manifest weight of the evidence and contrary to law.
Following a hearing, the trial court overruled father's
objections and adopted the magistrate's decision as the
judgment of the court. Father now appeals, raising two
assignments of error.
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