Virtual Self-Help Center


The majority of court patrons are more satisfied with their court experience and results if they hire an attorney. However, you can represent yourself. If you choose to act as your own attorney you will be held to the same rules of law and standards of conduct as an attorney.

No, only an attorney you have hired to represent you may give you legal advice. Legal advice given by any other person is unauthorized practice of law. There are severe and significant consequences for those who engage in the unauthorized practice of law. Therefore, the Court employees and staff will not give you legal advice.

The Judge determines which cases will be heard by the Judge and which cases will be heard by a Magistrate.

A Magistrate acts for the Judge in cases assigned to the Magistrate.  The Judge, who is elected, hires experienced attorneys to be Magistrates.  The rules regarding Magistrates, their decisions, and orders, the process of filing objections or motions to set aside are all found in Rule 53 of the Rules of Civil Procedure and in the Local Rules on this website.

The Judge and Magistrates are not permitted by their ethical rules to receive “ex parte” communications—this means letters or phone calls or other forms of communication from just one side of a case.

If you need to change the hearing date, you must file a Motion regarding your request as soon as possible.  Please review the Local Rules to find what should be included in your Motion.  After you file the Motion, please wait for it to be processed in the Clerk’s office and then sent to the Magistrate’s office.  Then, you can call the Court (740-833-2025) to find out if the Magistrate or Judge granted/approved the Motion.  The Magistrate or Judge will issue an Order or Entry ruling on the Motion.  Do not assume that filing a Motion for a Continuance automatically continues the hearing date.

The Judge or Magistrate has the discretion to grant a continuance or not depending on several factors such as how long the case has been pending, the reason the continuance is requested, how much docket time is scheduled for the hearing, etc.

You may file a Motion requesting to appear by telephone or by video conference.  Please provide your contact information in the Motion.  The Judge or Magistrate will determine whether to grant your request after reviewing the Motion.  You can call the Court (740-833-2025) to find out if the Magistrate or Judge granted/approved the Motion.  The Magistrate or Judge will issue an Order or Entry ruling on the Motion.

For your protection, the Administrative Assistants may not read the decision to you in case they do not read something correctly or you do not hear it correctly.  The Administrative Assistants cannot explain what your decision or order means because that is providing legal advice to you.  The Court Staff is not permitted, by law, to provide legal advice.

The key difference between a divorce and dissolution is that a divorce may be granted even if one party refuses to cooperate or participate in the proceedings.

Divorce is appropriate for parties who cannot reach an agreement regarding issues of custody, support, property, etc., or have not been in contact for a long period of time. This means that only the filing party (and a witness for the filing party) must be present at the final divorce hearing. As long as the other party was served according to the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure, the other party does not need to appear at the final hearing in order for the divorce to be granted.

A dissolution is appropriate for parties who are working together to end their marriage and are in agreement on all issues. Both parties are required to sign the dissolution documents, which means each party must actively participate in the process. Both parties must appear at the final hearing or the Court may dismiss the case.

A dissolution must be scheduled for a final hearing within 30 to 90 days of filing.

A timeline for divorce is harder to estimate because it is heavily dependent on the circumstances of the parties. Divorces can be finalized relatively quickly or can be extended for long periods of time. Factors such as how long service takes, whether the defendant participates in the proceedings, how many issues the Court must address, whether children are involved, etc., will impact the length of the process.