Lucas county domestic relations Court
The Lucas County Common Pleas Court Domestic Relations Division is located in the Family Court Center, 429 N. Michigan Street, Toledo, Ohio 43604. Judge Lewandowski and Judge McGowan’s courtrooms are located on the 4th floor while Judge Ramsey, Judge Zemmelman, and all of the Magistrate’s courtrooms are located on the 5th floor. The Court Counseling Department is located on the 4th Floor. The Clerk’s Office is located on the 1st Floor. Domestic Violence Protection Orders may be obtained on the 2nd Floor.
Parking and Directions to Court
There is a surface parking lot operated by Kwik Park (check that) located on the corner of Michigan Street and Adams Street, which is accessible from Michigan Street. There is another surface parking lot operated by XXX, which accessible from Ontario Street near Adams Street. There is metered street parking operated by ParkSmart on Michigan Street, Adams Street, Canton Street, and behind the Family Court Center on 10th Street. Metered street parking can be paid conveniently through the ParkSmart app. Make sure to lock your car and hide any valuables in your trunk.
There are waiting areas on both the 4th and 5th floors, so after proceeding through security, you should take the elevator directly to the floor of your court event. You should check in with the receptionist on the 5th floor for all court events scheduled with Judge Ramsey, Judge Zemmelman, or a Magistrate. There is no receptionist on the 4th floor, so your attorney will check you in for all court events with Judge Lewandowsi or Judge McGowan.
Because court events typically involve waiting for your case to be called, you may want to bring work to do or a book to read while you wait. Even if you are not likely to go into the courtroom to see the Judge, you should dress appropriately for court. Get more info on court attire here.
What to Expect
During a divorce case, trials, settlement conferences, and pretrials are generally scheduled with the Judge, while all interim temporary order hearings (“affidavit hearings” and “evidentiary hearings”) are scheduled with a Magistrate. Most post-divorce matters and domestic violence protection order cases are scheduled with a Magistrate.
Usually, the first court event during a divorce is the affidavit hearing to establish interim temporary orders. Interim temporary orders are those court orders that will be in place while your case is pending. Interim temporary orders typically establish temporary custody of any children, a temporary parenting time schedule, payment of temporary child support, allocation of any bills, and payment of temporary spousal support. Interim temporary orders are not required in every case and, as a result, are not always requested by the parties. You should consult with your attorney as to whether interim temporary orders are appropriate for your case. At the affidavit hearing, the Magistrate typically reviews the written documentation in the file and issues orders based only upon the information contained within the written documentation. The Magistrate does not consider any testimony or exhibits. Parties may, but are not required, to attend the affidavit hearing. Attorneys typically attend the affidavit hearing to answer any questions the Magistrate may have about the documents or to clarify any discrepancies. The Magistrate typically issues a written order by mail about week after the affidavit hearing.
If either party disagrees with the Magistrate’s orders from the affidavit hearing, the court will schedule the case for an evidentiary hearing before the Magistrate. At an evidentiary hearing, the Magistrate will consider testimony from the parties and any witnesses, and will review any exhibits. You should plan to be at the courthouse the entire morning for morning hearings or the entire afternoon for afternoon hearings. Because the court schedules multiple cases for the same day, your evidentiary hearing may be postponed to a later date, typically about 4-6 weeks later. If your evidentiary hearing is not concluded by the end of the morning or afternoon, it will resume at a later date, typically about 4-6 weeks later.
The first court event with the Judge during a divorce is usually a pretrial. Although each Judge handles pretrials slightly differently, a pretrial is an opportunity for the attorneys to speak with the Judge about any factual or legal issues pertinent to the case, as well as schedule case deadlines and discuss procedural matters. Some Judges conduct pretrials in the courtroom while other Judges conduct pretrials in the Judge’s chambers. Parties are required to attend pretrial conferences, unless specifically excused. Parties usually do not see the Judge, nor go into the courtroom, at pretrials. The Court usually schedules pretrials about every 6-8 weeks to check-in with the attorneys as to status. Because the Judge schedules multiple cases for the same day, your case may not be called right away. You should plan to be at the courthouse about 2 hours for pretrials. Please note that the court notices usually state that the case is scheduled for “trial,” even though the event is supposed to be a pretrial. Your attorney will know when your case is actually scheduled for trial.
If a settlement has not been reached, the Judge will schedule your case for a settlement conference. Depending on the Judge, your settlement conference may be scheduled well in advance of your trial, just a few days in advance of the trial, or possibly the morning of trial. The Judge usually only schedules a few cases for settlement conference on the same day, so the Judge will have more time to spend with the attorneys on your case than at the pretrials. The Judge expects the attorneys and the parties to be at the courthouse the entire morning or afternoon to continue to work on settlement.
If a settlement is not reached at the settlement conference, the case will proceed to a trial (sometimes called a final hearing). At a trial, the Judge will consider the testimony of the parties and any witnesses, as well as review any exhibits. Divorce trials are typically 1 to 2 days in length, though they can be as short as a half-day to as long as several days. Some Judge schedule more than one trial for the same day, so your case may be postponed. If the trial is not concluded in the allotted time, it may have to resume at a later date. The Judge will issue a written decision by mail several weeks after the trial has concluded.
Post-divorce matters, although scheduled with a Magistrate, typically follow the same pretrial-settlement conference-trial procedure as the divorce case.
If you have other questions or concerns about your case or upcoming court appointment, contact your attorney.
family court center
429 N. Michigan St.
Toledo, OH 43604
Ph: (419) 283-6850
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.