The Supreme Court of Ohio has been requested to approve an amendment to a number of rules of civil procedure. In regard to domestic relations, pending before the Supreme Court of Ohio is a proposed amendment to Civil Rule 75, specifically addressing the joinder of parties to a divorce matter. The proposed amendment would provide discretion to a domestic relations court to join an agency or individual to a divorce matter, upon a claim that the agency or individual claims has an interest with respect to a child. The specific amendment provides “[t]he court may make any person or agency claiming to have an interest in or right to a child by rule or statute, including but not limited to R.C. 3109.04 and R.C. 3109.051, a party defendant”. Likely agencies would, of course, include a child support enforcement agency or department of children and family services. However, the amendment would also permit third party individuals to intervene in order to seek rights relating to the children (i.e. residential parent/legal custodian, parenting time). Under the amendment, this could permit any individual, related to the child or not, to intervene in the divorce action if approved by the court.
How does the amendment process work? If approved by the Supreme Court of Ohio, the amended rule will become effective July 1, 2014. The Supreme Court has until April 30, 2014 to accept all or any provision of the proposed amendment and file such notice with the General Assembly. The General Assembly then has until June 30, 2014 to indicate any disapproval. If not, the amendment becomes effective July 1, 2014.
A full listing of proposed amendments to rules in Ohio can be found at http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/RuleAmendments. For more information regarding these issues, and the process involved, please contact Joseph Stafford at (216) 241-1074; or http://staffordlawcompany.com.