Family Law

V.      Family Law


House Bill 178     Child support; health insurance

A product of the OSBA Family Law Committee

Pending in the House Juvenile and Family Law Committee

Effectively enacted as part of House Bill 119, the biennial budget bill


House Bill 178 would:  


-          specify factors a court or child support enforcement agency may consider when determining the "reasonable cost" of health insurance coverage for children subject of a child support order; and


-         create a rebuttable presumption that the reasonable cost of health insurance coverage does not exceed 5% of the person's gross income. 


House Bill 178 would establish a definition of “reasonable cost” - a rebuttable presumption of up to 5% of a parent’s (obligor’s or obligee’s) gross income, and would apply this definition to both court and CSEA medical support orders.  It would also bring Ohio into compliance with the new (proposed but soon to be finalized) federal regulations defining “reasonable cost,” and the same definition is included in the biennial budget bill (House Bill 119).   


Finally, since the definition of “reasonable cost” in this bill creates only a rebuttable presumption, a court or CSEA may also consider special circumstances that render the “5% test” inappropriate based on the enumerated statutory factors. 


The act includes a new “cash medical support order” in the event that health insurance is not available.  The language is modeled after proposed federal regulations. 


House Bill 7         Adoption

Passed the House; pending in the Senate Health, Human Services and Aging  Committee


House Bill 7 would make changes to Ohio’s adoption law as follows: 


-          add the birth mother's living expenses (up to $3,000) incurred during pregnancy and up to 60 days after the child is born to the payments that may be made in connection with a child's permanent surrender, placement, or adoption;


-          require the Director of Job and Family Services to adopt rules aligning the adoption and foster care home study content, time periods, and processes;


-          eliminate the requirement that a juvenile court consent to an adoption before a probate court can grant certain adoption petitions involving legal guardians or custodians;


-          revise the condition under which a parent's consent is not needed for an adoption on the basis of failing for a period of one year to communicate with the child or provide for the maintenance and support for the child to require that the parent fail to regularly communicate with the child and significantly provide for the maintenance and support of the child;


-          provide, generally, that an interlocutory order of adoption is to become final not less than six months and not more than one year from the date of the adoptee's placement in the adoptive home rather than from the date of the order's issuance;


-          require a juvenile court to consider an adoptive parent's ability to meet the needs of all other children residing in the adoptive home when deciding whether to issue a support order when the adoptive parent enters into an agreement with a PCSA or PCPA to place his or her adopted child into the temporary custody of the agency or the child is committed under the juvenile law;


-          require certain programs to emphasize adoption as an option for unintended pregnancies; and


-          require the Department of Job and Family Services to establish a Child-Centered Recruitment Task Force and details the function, members, and expiration date of the Task Force. 


The bill would also make changes regarding child welfare law as follows: 


-         prohibit a juvenile court from extending a temporary custody order beyond two years from the earlier of the date the complaint was filed or the date the child was placed in shelter care;


-          add additional criteria to one of the factors, regarding involuntary termination of parental rights with respect to a sibling, that a juvenile court must consider during a permanent custody hearing;


-          require a juvenile court to place a child in the permanent custody of a PCSA or PCPA under certain circumstances; and


-          specify that when a child must remain in residential or institutional care the care must be needed for a significant period of time beyond the date of the child's dispositional hearing if a juvenile court is considering placing the child in a planned permanent living arrangement. 



Senate Bill 21      Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders

Pending in the Senate Judiciary – Civil Justice Committee


Senate Bill 21 would adopt in Ohio the Uniform Interstate Enforcement of Domestic Violence Protection Orders, which addresses the following: 


-          enforcement of a valid foreign protection order in an Ohio court;


-          enforcement of a valid foreign protection order by a law enforcement officer;


-          registration of a foreign protection order;


-          qualified immunity for Ohio law enforcement and other officials; and


-          pursuit of other remedies. 


 House Bill 213     Foster care bill

Passed the House; pending in the Senate Judiciary-Criminal Justice Committee

House Bill 214     Foster care bill

Effective May 14, 2008

Senate Bill 163    Foster care bill

Effective August 14, 2008

Senate Bill 164    Foster care bill

Passed the Senate; pending in the House Juvenile and Family Law Committee


These bills and acts address the subject of foster parents with regard to background checks, pre-placement training for foster homes, establishment of a “Retained Applicant Fingerprint Database,” and sharing of information by agencies responsible for placement and monitoring of children in foster care. 


A controversial provision added to House Bill 214 on the House floor would prohibit release of information on foster parents (shield law). 


 House Bill 247     Civil protection orders

Passed the House; pending in the Senate Judiciary-Civil Justice Committee


House Bill 247 would: 


-    permit any person who is 18 years of age or older to file a motion for a protection order on behalf of a child, upon the child's request;


-    create an additional ground upon which a protection order may be sought to protect a child to include that:  (1) the respondent committed felonious assault, aggravated assault, assault, menacing by stalking, menacing, or aggravated trespass, or a substantially similar municipal violation, against the child; (2) the person to be protected by the protection order was less than 18 years of age at the time of the alleged violation; and (3) the child is a person with whom the respondent has or had a dating relationship;


-    expand the jurisdiction of the juvenile court to hear, determine, and enforce matters involving protection orders against a child;


-    permit certain persons to file a motion with the court for a protection order as a pretrial condition of release of the alleged offender, involving children in a dating relationship; and


-    include a foster parent in the definition of "family or household member" in the criminal and civil domestic violence laws.



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