FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. How can I get my hearing date changed?
Parties may request a continuance of their hearing by submitting a Motion and Entry for Continuance (Form DR 629) to the Case Management Office. The motion for a continuance should be filed at least seven (7) days prior to a hearing, three (3) days for domestic violence hearings, and shall state the reason for the request, the hearing officer assigned to the case, the date, time, and place of the hearing, the number of continuances previously granted, and shall state whether the opposing party objects or agrees to the continuance. This includes pro se parties. Motions shall contain a certificate of service indicating that the party requesting the continuance has received a copy of the motion for continuance and has served the other party. Motions for Continuance are granted at the discretion of the hearing officer. For more information regarding the continuance process, see Local Rule DR 33.
2. What if I can’t appear for my court hearing?
Parties who are unable to attend their scheduled hearing may submit a Motion and Entry for Continuance in order to change their hearing date. Parties are expected to appear at all scheduled hearings unless otherwise excused by a hearing officer. Warrants may be issued for failure to appear if a party was previously warned by the Court that a warrant may issue.
3. How do I request a transcript of my Court hearing?
Requests for transcripts or CD recordings of hearings are submitted in writing to the Administration Office of the Court. The Court approved Transcript Request form may be found here. It contains all required information for transcripts to be prepared. No transcript will be prepared without the submission of a completed Transcript Request form. Please provide a frequently checked e-mail address with your request; the Court will primarily use e-mail to communicate the progress of the submitted request.
There are two methods by which the Court will process transcript requests. A request may be assigned to an in-house Court staff member or to a dedicated outside service agency. The Court will determine which method will be selected based upon current transcript workload.
Method One: In-house Transcript Preparation. The Administration Office will accept a completed Transcript Request form from the requesting party and provide an estimated cost for the transcript. A deposit of one half of the estimated cost must be paid to the Clerk of Courts. Once the deposit is paid and the requesting party has provided the Transcript Coordinator with proof of deposit, the transcript will be prepared. Once the transcript is completed, the Transcript Coordinator will inform the requesting party and inform them of any unpaid balance owed on the transcript. The unpaid balance must be paid to the Clerk of Courts and proof of payment provided to the Transcript Coordinator prior to the transcript being released. Parties are encouraged to make their transcript requests and pay their deposits in a timely manner to avoid being charged an expedited rate for the transcript.
Method Two: Outside Service Agency Transcript Preparation. The Administration Office will accept a completed Transcript Request form from the requesting party. The Court will inform the requesting party that an outside service agency has been assigned to prepare the request and the agency will require an advance deposit of 100% of the estimated cost. The agency will contact the party to establish the estimated cost and make financial arrangements. The cost must be paid to the service agency before the transcript will be prepared.
How much does a transcript or CD cost?
Original Transcript-$4.00 per page
Expedited Transcript-$7.00 per page
Copy of Transcript-$0.05 per page
Copy of exhibits-$0.05 per page
CD of audio recording-No charge
5. How long does it take to get a transcript?
There are a variety of factors that determine the turn-around time on a transcript. If there is another hearing scheduled, such as an objection hearing, our goal is to complete the transcript at least one week before the hearing date. The average turn-around time for a transcript between 1 and 50 pages is two to three weeks.
6. Do I have to pick up and make the final payment for my transcript myself, or can someone else do this for me?
The requesting party should pick up and pay for a transcript due to the sensitive nature of the information contained within. However, the requesting party may make arrangements with the Administration Office to designate a specific individual in his/her place. Any individual may be asked to present photo identification prior to the release of the transcript from the Court.
7. What is the difference between a transcript of the hearing and a CD of the hearing?
A transcript is a typed document where you can read everything that was recorded during the hearing. A CD is only the audio recording of the proceeding. The CD can only be played in a computer.
8. I received a CD and there’s nothing on the CD. Can I get another one?
The CD is not blank. It must be played through a computer. You can’t play the CD in a car CD player or any other CD player. The CD is four tracks and, therefore, must be played through a computer. Use the “F” drive or the DVD-Ram drive on the computer.
9. Where are you located?
The Butler County Domestic Relations Court is located in the Government Services Center. The address is 315 High St. 2nd Floor, Hamilton Ohio 45011. A parking garage is located behind the building for use by the public. Parties will need to pay for their parking in cash in order to exit the garage. More information regarding the hours and location of the Court can be found on the Hours and Location section of the website.
10. Am I required by the Court to have an attorney?
It is not required that parties be represented by an attorney for their hearings with the Butler County Domestic Relations Court. Parties who wish to appear without an attorney are considered pro se parties. Whether a party chooses to appear pro se or with an attorney, they may not seek legal advice from court staff. State law (ORC 4705.07) prohibits employees of the court from giving legal advice. Parties who appear pro se are held to the same standards and must comply with the same rules in presenting their case as if they were represented by an attorney.
11. I can’t afford an attorney. Can you appoint one?
The Court is required to appoint an attorney for parties who are facing contempt issues and have been determined to be indigent by the Court. A Public Defender will be appointed by the Court to represent the party. The Court does not appoint attorneys for any other issues.
12. I received a Notice of Final Appealable Order from the Clerk of Courts. What does this mean?
A Notice of Final Appealable Order is sent by the Clerk of Courts to all parties on a case when a magistrate’s decision is adopted as the final order of the Court. The final appealable order is processed after the parties’ objection time on the magistrate’s decision has expired. A judge will sign a Final Appealable Order form which is attached to the previously issued magistrate’s decision and it is filed with the Clerk of Courts.
13. What is the difference between a Divorce and a Dissolution?
If the spouses cannot agree on all issues, but one of the spouses wishes to end the marriage, they must sue the other spouse by filing a Complaint for Divorce with the Clerk of Courts. A Divorce is similar to any other lawsuit in many ways.
If both spouses wish to end the marriage, and agree to the disposition of ALL issues of the marriage, they may seek a Dissolution of Marriage.
For legal advice regarding this and other questions, you must talk to an attorney. Please see the General Procedure Overview of a Dissolution, Divorce or Legal Separation in Butler County for more detailed information.
14. Where can I get the forms to file for a Divorce or Dissolution?
The Court does not provide"fill in the blank" forms for a Divorce or Dissolution. Parties may purchase a law packet at any major bookstore or office supply store, find suitable documents online or access the Supreme Court of Ohio’s website to obtain forms. These forms may not meet all the requirements for filing in Butler County Domestic Relations Court.
Parties are encouraged to carefully review all forms and the instruction sheets for filing a Divorce or Dissolution that are provided by the Court to ensure that they have all of the necessary paperwork. There are additional documents that are specific to Butler County that must be filed with your Divorce or Dissolution. These forms are available on the Court’s website under the Court Rules & Forms tab.
15. Why can't I talk to the Judge?
Two of the most important principles of the American judicial system are Fairness and Equal Treatment for All Persons. To ensure fairness and equal treatment, judges are not allowed by their ethics rules to receive what are called ex parte communications. The term “ex parte: is a Latin phrase that means “of or from one side or party.” In other words, judges cannot hear matters from one side in a case without the other side being present at the time. If the parties are represented by attorneys, both attorneys must be present. That is why judges hear case testimony in the courtroom where everyone is present. These rules are designed to give the public confidence in the judicial system. It is extremely important that the public knows that no one has an “inside track” in the court system and that “back room deals” are not being struck.
If you want to tell the judge anything about your case, you should not call or write directly to the judge. Instead, you may file a motion bringing the matter back before the court for consider and serve all parties and attorneys, so they will be present as well.
16. What happens when a Dissolution, Divorce or Legal Separation is filed?
Please see the General Procedural Overview of a Dissolution, Divorce, or Legal Separation in Butler County for more detailed information.
17. What can be done if I don't agree with the court order?
A party may timely file an objection that complies with the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure if that party disagrees with any portion of a decision issued by a magistrate. Motions for Objection to the Decision of a Magistrate as well as instructions on how to file the motions are available in the Case Management Office and on the Court’s website under the Court Rules & Forms tab.
A party may timely file an appeal if that party disagrees with any portion of a decision issued by a judge. Parties may contact the Twelfth District Court of Appeals at 513-425-6609 or 1-800-824-1883 (in Ohio only) for more information regarding the appeal process.
18. What is the purpose of the Case Management Office?
The Case Management Office is a department of Domestic Relations Court responsible for reviewing all pleadings and filings for accuracy and compliance with the Ohio Revised Code, Rules of Civil Procedure and local rules of the court before parties file them with the Clerk of Courts Office. Additionally, the office assists the public and legal professionals with procedural information. Submission to the Case Management Office is not an official filing of the legal action. Case Management staff members are not permitted to give legal advice. Parties seeking legal advice should consult with an attorney.