Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
IN RE C.T-T., ET AL. Minor Children Appeal by T.T., Mother
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
Juvenile Division Case Nos. CU 15102485 and CU 15102486
Offices of Neil W. Siegel, and Michael T. Ditzel, for
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
D. CELEBREZZE, JR., J.
1} Respondent-appellant, T.T. ("Mother"),
brings the instant appeal, pro se, challenging the trial
court's judgment entry awarding joint custody and
adopting a shared parenting plan regarding Mother's and
petitioner-appellee, F.T.'s ("Father"),
children. After a thorough review of the record and law, this
Factual and Procedural History
2} The instant case was initiated by Father when he
filed an application for custody of the parties'
children, C.T-T. (d.o.b. June 11, 2006) and G.T-T. (d.o.b.
December 12, 2007), on February 23, 2015, in the Cuyahoga
County Court of Commons Pleas, Juvenile Division ("trial
court"). Sometime in September or August 2014, Mother
and the two children moved from Ohio to Colorado. Father
filed his motion for custody based on allegations that Mother
was using corporal punishment on the children while they were
residing in Colorado. Specifically, the allegations were that
Mother was striking the children with an electrical cord.
Father also alleged that Mother shoved socks in the
children's mouths in an attempt to muffle the
children's screams from the strikes because the children
were being too noisy or loud. Mother also allegedly tied the
children's legs together with rope in an attempt to stop
the children from running away from her while she was
striking the children. Father alleged that the children were
in danger of immediate harm if Mother returned to Colorado
with the children.
3} A hearing on Father's motion for custody was
scheduled for August 13, 2015. On August 6, 2015, Mother
filed a motion to dismiss and/or transfer jurisdiction. On
August 11, 2015, Father filed a motion for temporary custody
and to stay child support. On August 13, 2015, the magistrate
held a hearing on the various motions. Present at the hearing
was Father, his counsel, and Mother, who proceeded pro se.
Also present at the hearing was a guardian ad litem
("GAL") for the children whom was appointed by the
court on July 8, 2015. At the hearing, the GAL made an oral
motion to the magistrate for emergency temporary custody to
Father. Prior to the hearing, the magistrate conducted an in
camera interview with the children. The children corroborated
the corporal punishment allegations made by Father in his
motion. After hearing testimony from Mother and Father, the
magistrate granted Father's motion for temporary custody.
Thereafter, the matter was scheduled for pretrial hearings on
Father's motion to determine custody.
4} The matter eventually proceeded to trial on
Father's motion to determine custody on August 4, 2016.
The magistrate heard testimony on Father's motion on
August 4, 2016, and the matter was continued. Thereafter,
Father, on September 19, 2016, filed a motion to adopt a
shared parenting plan. The matter continued for nearly one
and one-half years as the parties seemingly negotiated the
terms of a shared parenting plan. The matter then proceeded
to trial scheduled for January 4, 2018.
5} Prior to commencing trial on January 4, 2018, the
parties, each represented by counsel, drafted a shared
parenting plan that granted custody of the children to both
parties. This shared parenting plan was then submitted to the
magistrate, and the magistrate approved and adopted the
shared parenting plan.
6} On January 9, 2018, the magistrate issued a
decision granting Father's motion to determine custody
and ordered that the agreement of the parties - the shared
parenting plan - be adopted and approved. On January 16,
2018, Mother, while represented by counsel, filed pro se
objections to the magistrate's decision. On January 23,
2018, Mother, through her counsel, filed additional
objections to the magistrate's decision.
7} On March 29, 2018, the trial court issued a
judgment entry overruling Mother's objections, adopting
the magistrate's decision, and awarding joint custody to
8} On April 13, 2018, Mother, pro se, filed a notice
of appeal in the instant matter. On April 16, 2018, this
court issued a judgment entry, sua sponte ordering Mother to
file an amended notice of appeal. Mother complied with this
sua sponte order and filed an amended notice of appeal on
April 30, 2018. Mother presents 13 assignments of error for
our review presented verbatim below:
I. No Jurisdiction
II. Not the first Custody Application
III. No Motion filed by either party for in camera
IV. No due process - made to have emergency custody hearing
without an attorney of time to prepare. No respect for
mothers rights or explanation of rights. Court gave temporary
Parenting time to F.T. without a investigation or hearing as
to whether that was in the best interest. That was a
modification of the original order, w/o due process. He then
used that to file for temporary custody, quote line.
V. No continuance for Attorney
VI. No emergency that warranted emergency ...