The Ohio State Bar Association provides legal information for parties appearing in court.  Click here to access the information.




Glossary – What Do Words or Terms Mean?
How to Find Forms
Non-English Speaking Litigant
Modifying Child Support
Modifying Parenting Orders or Parenting Time 
Motion for Contempt
Civil Protection Orders
Finding an Attorney
Help with Forms
Helpful Links 



Case caption is the identification for your case that is at the top.  For example, John Smith vs. Jane Smith is the case caption.  This caption never changes—it is always in the same order, no matter who files another motion.  If one person remarries, that person’s last name is added to the caption.  For example, if Jane Smith remarries and her last name is now Jones, the case caption becomes John Smith v. Jane Smith nka Jones.

Case number is the number of the case and it is always at the top of any motion or order or decision.  The first digits of the case number identify the year in which the case was first filed.  For example, case number 10DRA00416 (this is the same as 2010DRA00416) means that the case was filed in 2010.  This number is not the same as a child support account number, typically referred to as a “SETS” number—this number is a ten-digit number.

Civil Protection Order is an order that is issued for the protection of a person (the Petitioner) or of children if the Court finds that the other person (the Respondent) has committed an act of domestic violence.

Continuance means that you wish to have the hearing rescheduled to a different date.  You need to file a motion for a continuance if you wish the court to “continue” (reschedule) the hearing to a different date.  The Judge or Magistrate who is scheduled for the hearing will determine if the continuance will be granted.

Decision is what the Court issues after a hearing by a Magistrate or what the Judge issues after a final hearing in a divorce proceeding.  In certain circumstances, the Magistrate issues an order.  You may be able to file Objections to a Magistrate’s Decision or a Motion to Set Aside a Magistrate’s Order.  You should look at Rule 53 of the Rules of Civil Procedure to determine what your options are.

Decree is the name for a final divorce order—the Decree of Divorce—or a final order from a dissolution proceeding—a Decree of Dissolution—or a final order for shared parenting that is part of a divorce of dissolution proceeding—a Decree of Shared Parenting.  The Decree is the document that states that your marriage is terminated.

Discovery is the process of finding out information from the other side.  The rules for doing discovery are in the Rules of Civil Procedure.  A common way of doing discovery is “interrogatories”.  These are a set of written questions which must be answered within a certain period of time.  Another way of doing discovery is a “request for production of documents”.  This is a request to have certain documents provided—bank accounts, tax returns, etc.  Another common way is to take a person’s “deposition”.  A deposition is the process of answering questions orally and is done in the presence of a court reporter, under oath.  It is similar to answering questions in court.  You should review the Rules of Civil Procedure to determine all your options for conducting discovery and the time limits for responding to a discovery request from the other side.

Evidence is the information the Court uses to make a decision.  Evidence can be documents, testimony, pictures, etc.

Exhibits are documents/pictures/etc. that you want the Judge or Magistrate to see.  These can be bank statements, emails, report cards, income tax returns, pictures, etc.  As a general matter, the court will keep the exhibits that are submitted during a hearing.  If you have exhibits that you wish to submit, you need to bring a list of your exhibits and you need to mark each exhibit.  If your name is the first name in the case caption, you should mark your exhibits with numbers.  If your name is the second name in the case caption, you should mark your exhibits with letters.  The index of exhibits should list the number or letter of each exhibit and then state what the exhibit is.  For example, Exhibit A – Pay stub; Exhibit B – W2 form; etc.  You should bring three complete sets of exhibits to the hearing (including the originals).  You may be required to exchange exhibits before the hearing—this order would be in a Pretrial Order.

Final Appealable Order is an order that is the final order of the Court on a particular motion.  A Decree of Divorce or Decree of Dissolution or Decree of Shared Parenting is also a final appealable order.  You have the right to file an appeal to the Court of Appeals if you have a final appealable order.

Guardian ad Litem (“GAL”) is a person who is appointed to assist the Judge or Magistrate in determining what is in a child’s best interest in a parenting proceeding.  The GAL will interview each parent, the children, school personnel, etc.  The GAL will visit each parent’s home.  The GAL will submit a copy of his/her report about the investigation and his/her recommendations to each parent approximately one week before the GAL and the parents are to report to the Court.

In camera interview is when the Judge or Magistrate interviews the children in a parenting proceeding.  If there is a Guardian ad litem (“GAL”) appointed, the GAL will participate in the interview with the Judge or Magistrate.  Otherwise, a member of the Court’s personnel will be present in the interview.  The interview is recorded.  Neither the parents nor their attorneys may be present during the interview.  Neither the parents nor their attorneys may listen to the recording.

Local Rules are a set of rules that each court develops for the operation of the court, in addition to the Rules of Civil Procedure (which govern all civil courts in the state of Ohio).  The Local Rules for the Clermont County Domestic Relations Court are located on this website, under the “Local Rules” link.  You should review these rules to determine what you may need to file, specific procedures, etc.

Motion to Set Aside a Magistrate’s Order is what you file if you disagree with a Magistrate’s Order.  You may look at Rule 53 of the Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rule DR 39 to determine the procedure to follow if you wish to file a motion to set aside.

Objections are what you file if you disagree with a Magistrate’s decision.  You may look at Rule 53 of the Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rule DR 39 to determine the procedure to follow if you wish to file objections.

Parenting Investigation is an investigation performed by one of the Court’s Parenting Investigators in cases involving parenting issues.  The Parenting Investigator interviews the children and the parents at the courthouse but does not conduct a home investigation.

Pretrial is a hearing to establish a schedule for other hearings or procedures.  No witnesses are called for a Pretrial hearing and the Court does not take testimony or evidence.  A Pretrial Order will be issued at the end of the hearing that has dates and times for a hearing, a date by which discovery is to be completed, a date by which exhibits are to be exchanged, etc.

Post-decree is a motion or proceeding that occurs after the Decree of Divorce or Decree of Dissolution is issued.  This includes a motion to change the amount of a child support order, a motion to change the parenting orders, a motion to change the parenting time schedule, a motion for contempt, etc.

Rules of Civil Procedure are rules that govern all civil courts in the state of Ohio.  The Rules are on the Supreme Court’s website (http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/LegalResources/Rules/).  You should review these rules to determine procedures, time requirements, etc.

Service means that the other side was provided (“served”) with a copy of your Complaint for Divorce or Motion.  There are different ways to accomplish service—certified mail or sheriff’s service or a private process server or publication or posting.  A hearing cannot go forward unless the other side is served with your paperwork.  The rules about service are in the Rules of Civil Procedure.

Subpoena orders a person to appear as a witness to testify in a court proceeding.  If you wish to have a subpoena issued to make sure a person comes to court (a person other than the other party), then you need to go to the Clerk of Courts to fill out the form for a subpoena.  You will need to have the address for the person whom you wish to subpoena and the date and time of the hearing.

Testimony is making statements in court or answering questions from the other party or an attorney under oath.

Under advisement is the time the Judge or Magistrate spends writing the Decision or Order after a hearing.  The Judge and Magistrates make every effort to issue the Decisions and Orders as timely as possible.  There is no set deadline to issue the Decision or Order.  Due to the complexity of the case or special circumstances or other pending cases, it may take some time to issue a Decision or Order.

How to Find Forms

All of our forms are located on this website.  When you are on the Court’s Home Page, you will scroll down the left side of the page and click on the “Forms” link, you will be taken to a screen that asks you to “Click HERE to go to our forms website”.  The next screen states the following:  Forms for dissolution, divorce, post-decree motion, etc.; and File Cabinet, a list of all available forms.

If you click on “a list of all available forms”, the next screen gives you the choice of forms organized by Form Name and by Form Number.  Many of the forms that appear on these lists do not appear on the checklists.

If you click on one of the options under “Forms for”, you will be taken to a screen that has other options such as “with minor children” or “without minor children” or “modify child support” or “modify parenting time”, etc.  When you decide on the option that best represents what you wish to file, you click on that option and the checklist with the form names and numbers will be downloaded.  You may print the necessary forms by scrolling over to the form number and clicking on it.  The form will be downloaded.  If you choose the Word format, you need to print the form, and then complete the form by handwriting your information.  If you choose the PDF format, you complete the form using your computer by filling in each “block” of information and then, once completed, you print it.  You have the option of saving the form so you can come back to it.

Non-English Speaking Litigant 

If a party or a witness does not speak English or has limited English-speaking skills, the Court is required to appoint a foreign language interpreter for that person, to interpret what that person is saying to the Judge or Magistrate and other parties and to interpret what the Judge and Magistrate and witnesses are saying for the foreign language party.  Sometimes, a person is skilled in English in his/her regular daily functions but may have difficulty in a hearing before a Judge or Magistrate because the vocabulary is different.  The interpreter provided by the Court is not to function as an interpreter between the party and his/her attorney—the attorney may need to bring another interpreter.

This also applies to a party or a witness who is deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind.

You may wish to review Rule 88 of the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio (http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/LegalResources/Rules/).

If you need an interpreter, you need to file a Request for Interpreter (Form DR-207 on the Forms portion of this website).  You should review Local Rule DR 14 on the Local Rules portion of this website regarding an Interpreter.


A dissolution is a court action to end a marriage when the parties reach a full agreement of the terms to terminate their marriage.  Both parties must sign a Petition that asks the Court to approve the Separation Agreement and issue a Decree of Dissolution and a Separation Agreement.  A Separation Agreement settles all issues regarding the division of property, division of debts, division of retirement accounts, spousal support, and any parenting agreements if one parent will be designated the sole residential parent and legal custodian.  If you wish to have Shared Parenting of your children, you must also submit a Shared Parenting Plan.  The Court will not make any decisions for you; the Court will only issue a Decree making your agreement a court order.


A divorce is a court action to end a marriage when the parties do not agree how to resolve all the issues or if one party will not appear for a court hearing.

Modifying Child Support 

You may file a Motion to ask the Court to increase or reduce your child support order.  You need to review the Local Rules and Forms section of the website to find the right forms for you.

Modification of Parenting Orders and Parenting Time

You may file a Motion to ask the Court to change the parenting orders (custody) or to change the parenting time (visitation) orders.  You need to review the Local Rules and the Forms section of the website to find the right forms for you.

Motion for Contempt

If you believe that the other party is not following the orders in your case, you may wish to file a Motion requesting that the other party be found in contempt.  If a person is found in contempt, the Court may order that person to serve a jail sentence and/or pay a fine, pay the other party’s attorney fees, and also pay court costs.

Domestic Violence Civil Protection Orders

This is an order that is issued for the protection of a person (the Petitioner) or of children if the Court finds that the other person (the Respondent) has committed an act of domestic violence.

Help with Forms

Clermont County Domestic Relations Court holds a Law Clinic once a month (except for the month of July) from 9 a.m. until noon at the Union Township Public Library to help self-represented parties with legal advice and court forms.  A volunteer attorney is there to offer parties legal advice, and a court employee is on hand to make sure that completed forms comply with court rules. For more information on the Law Clinic, please click here.

The Literacy Council and the Clermont County Court of Domestic Relations have partnered to provide volunteer tutors to read legal documents to individuals who need to resolve a domestic relations matter. For more information, please click here.

Helpful Links

The Ohio State Bar Association has a series of articles and information about a variety of issues and questions.  This is another good resource for information.

This is a link to the Ohio Child Support Guidelines Calculator:  http://www.jfs.ohio.gov/ocs/.  It is an easy-to-follow way to prepare a child support worksheet.