Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Judges Collaborate at Domestic Relations Summit Preview

Improving the lives of those they serve and bridging parent and child relationships are just a couple of reasons why more than a dozen judges who preside over domestic relations cases met on May 23 at the Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center.

It’s part of the first series of Pre-Summit Activity of Judicial Leadership seminars being held across Ohio in preparation for the Domestic Relations Summit that will be held in April 2014. Around 60 judges from 50 Ohio counties took part in one of three regional meetings to collaborate with their colleagues.

The seminars focus on judicial ethics, managing domestic relations dockets, access to justice, and judicial leadership. The goal is to enhance judicial support and strategies so that cases are timely, fair, and focused on the best interest of the children.

Henry County Family Court Judge Denise McColley is the president of the Ohio Association of Domestic Relations Judges and a member of the domestic relations summit planning committee. She said the judges are learning how to best work together with their staff and with those who work closely with families and children in their communities.

“We have 88 counties in Ohio and everyone does things a little bit differently, and there are many places where we have really good practices that we may not even know about that are existing in other counties and ... will allow us if we choose to to adopt them in our own courts,” Judge McColley said.

Stephanie Nelson, with the Ohio Supreme Court’s Children, Families, and the Courts Section, said the judges’ collaboration will help create a high-performing domestic relations court.

“They do not have a federal line of funding so that resources are not as plentiful as they are for elder issues or for children’s issues, so this is a way to dedicate some resources to the domestic relations courts but it’s also a way of getting the courts to look at their processes and to enhance them not by adding programs that cost money but by looking at their resources and maybe realigning them,” Nelson said.

A second series of pre-summit meetings will be held in November. The information gathered at the meetings will be presented at the April 24-25, 2014 domestic relations summit in Columbus.