Probate Court is a division of the Courts of Common Pleas in Ohio. Probate Court has exclusive jurisdiction over certain special types of cases: estates, guardianships of incompetent persons and minors, name changes of adults and minors, and adoptions. The Probate Court also issues marriage licenses.
Juvenile Court has jurisdiction over legal issues involving people under the age of eighteen. Cases regarding delinquency, traffic, and unruly charges are heard and decided by the Juvenile Court. Custody, visitation and support matters for children whose parents were not married also come under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic (coronavirus), an administrative order has been issued in an effort to reduce in-person contact at the courthouse, applying to both visitors and staff. Additionally, individuals are being required to wear coverings or masks over the nose and mouth at the building entrance at this time. Temperatures are also being tested at the entrance. A copy of this order can be found here.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wayne County Probate and Juvenile Court is converting hearings to occur via video conferencing through Zoom or teleconference.
The following are criteria that the Court considers when converting the hearing to a video conference or whether to issue a continuance instead:
1. Whether any constitutional or statutory rights apply;
2. The anticipated time duration of the hearing;
3. Whether all necessary parties and witnesses have access to video and audio capabilities;
4. Whether presentation of evidence will provide any added technical obstacles; and
5. The appropriateness of a continuance of the hearing - rather than conversion to a video hearing.
For parties who would like to participate or will be participating in video hearings with the Court, the Court has prepared a guide to using Zoom, which can be found here. For other assistance, please consider reviewing the video instructions located on Zoom's website. Parties and counsel participating via Zoom must have video and audio capabilities as well as access to the internet. If participating, please call the Court at a number above to provide an email address and telephone number at which you can be reached for the hearing.
If a Juvenile Court hearing has not been scheduled by video and you would like to participate remotely, please complete and file the form found here to request a video appearance. For Probate Court matters, a written request with similar content can be made, or parties may call (330) 287-5575 to speak with a clerk regarding video appearances.
Due to COVID-19, the Court is encouraging members of the public to file documents with the Court via eFiling or mail whenever possible. Again, the purpose of this request is to reduce face-to-face interaction when possible. In the event an ex parte or emergency request is being filed, please call the Court at a number above to advise of such and to assist the Court in quickly reviewing the filing.
Effective Monday, April 13, 2020, the Court is temporarily requiring a scheduling appointment for all marriage license applications. Please call ahead at (330) 287-5575 to schedule an appointment to meet with a clerk to complete the marriage license application process.
Guardians who need to complete continuing education pursuant to Local Rule 66.5 and Sup.R. 66.07(A) may do so by choosing one of several online courses found on the Supreme Court's website. All courses are three hours in length. Once completed, the guardian should forward the certification of completion to the Court.
If a guardian does not have access to a computer or a stable internet connection, the guardian should contact the Wayne County Probate Court at (330) 287- 5577 and make an appointment to come into the Court and view one of the required courses in our training room. Videos will be shown at designated times and attendees will be given credit for attending upon completion. The Court will ensure that all attendees comply with social distance requirements.
As a reminder, guardians who have completed the initial Fundamentals of Guardianship course, two subsequent continuing education courses, and who timely filed their guardian's report, annual plan, and statement of expert evaluation (if required) during the preceding calendar year, may apply for a waiver of the continuing education requirement the current calendar year by submitting a written request to the Court. The form for this request can be found here.
The Court is committed to maintaining its public services as possible during this difficult time, while still acting in a manner protective of public health. Any updates to the above protocol will be listed here on the Court's website as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding through this process.