Frequently Asked Questions


How do I get emancipated?

The State of Ohio does not have an emancipation law. There is no specific statute or court rule in the State of Ohio that specifically provides for a child to be considered an emancipated minor.

Paternity, Custody and Visitation

These are questions the court will ask if you inquire about getting custody or visitation with a child:

Has custody or parenting time ever been determined in another Court?

If the answer is yes, and the other Court is located in Ohio, you must first file your custody action in that Court because it has continuing jurisdiction.

Were the parents married / divorced?

If yes, you must contact the Domestic Relations Court in the County where the divorce was filed.

Does the child reside in Shelby County?

If no, you must file in the county where the child resides unless Shelby County Juvenile Court has made a prior custody determination.

Questions regarding custody/Visitation Filings & Hearings:

How do I file for custody or visitation or modification of an existing custody or visitation order established in the Shelby County Juvenile Court?

The best way is to contact an attorney who will gather information and put it in the correct format to file a complaint or motion. You may, however, choose to file a pro se action on your own. If you choose to do so, you must correctly prepare all forms and proper legal papers on your own. If you fail to correctly complete all papers, your case may be dismissed. The court cannot act as your attorney. If you choose to file on your own, it will be up to you to try your own case. You must also pay a filing fee of $250.00 to start an action or reopen an existing case.

Am I required to have a hearing to obtain custody of a child?

Yes. It is important to gather all the important information so the magistrate or judge can make the decision that will be in the best interest of the child. Even if the parties agree about the outcome, the court must determine if all terms and provisions of an agreement are appropriate and in the best interest of the child.

Can I bring my other children with me to court?

Please arrange in advance for appropriate babysitting for younger children. Young children will not be permitted in the courtroom or unattended in the hallway unless at the discretion of the judge. Continuances will not be granted because you did not secure a babysitter.

Delinquency and Traffic Cases

When is my court date?

You will be notified by mail with the date of your court hearing. If you move after your case begins, you must notify the Court of your new address.

Must I appear or can I just pay a fine and costs?

If you live in Shelby County, you must appear with a parent or guardian if you are summoned to do so. If you don’t live in Shelby County, the ticket or complaint will be transferred to the Juvenile Court in the county of your residence. In some instances you can post bond without appearing in court but you will receive notification that you can do so.

How do I get driving privileges when my license is suspended by the court?

You must request driving privileges in writing by filling out the appropriate form and submitting to it to the court for approval from the magistrate or judge who presided over your case.

How can court costs and fines be paid?

The Shelby County Juvenile Court accepts payments by cash, personal check (if residing in Shelby County), certified check or money order.

How do I get my court date changed?

You must contact the Juvenile Clerk’s Office and request that your court date be continued. If you are represented by counsel, you must contact them for the filing of the proper paperwork. A continuance must be approved by the magistrate or judge or you are expected to appear at your scheduled date and time.

What do I wear to court?

You are expected to and should dress properly for the occasion and should conduct yourself with propriety throughout the entire proceeding. NO SHORTS OR SLEEVELESS SHIRTS.

How is my record sealed?

Any individual adjudicated a delinquent or unruly child may fill out an application to apply for the sealing of his/her records pursuant to ORC 2151.356.

Support Cases

How do I get my support order modified, reduced or terminated?

You should first contact the child support enforcement agency in the county in which the order was issued. You may be able to address the issue through the administrative process and avoid the costs associated with court proceedings. Court orders may be changed by the issuance of another order or decision, which will be considered in a hearing in response to a motion.

If the parents get back together, what happens to the support obligation?

The child support order will continue until the court terminates it. A motion and court hearing are usually required.

What happens if I don’t pay support?

Failure to comply with a court order for support could result in a motion for contempt being filed with possibilities of financial penalties and/or incarceration. You can apply for the public defender by filling out a financial disclosure form in the juvenile clerk’s office. Anyone applying for public defender appointment may be required to pay a $25.00 indigent application fee. This fee is non-refundable and is paid to the court.

Court Costs

What happens if I don’t pay my court costs?

Fines and costs in all cases filed with the Juvenile Court shall be paid at the conclusion of a case or as ordered. If payment is not made within a reasonable time period, the Court may elect to employ a collection agency to collect the same, pursuant to O.R.C. 2152.20.

Court Appointed Attorneys / Public Defender

I am initiating or reopening a case regarding custody/visitation and would like court appointed counsel. Will the Court appoint me an attorney?

The Court is not required to appoint counsel in private cases. Only when the State is a party to the action as in cases of abuse, neglect, and dependency, is appointed counsel available.

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