The Hancock County Common Pleas Court has jurisdiction over felony criminal charges and serious civil actions including those involving monetary disputes or damages of over $15,000, foreclosures and matters where injunctions or similar relief is sought.. It also handles domestic relations matters including the issuance of civil protection orders for victims of domestic violence and appeals from administrative agencies.
The Hancock County Probate Court handles the administration of decedents’ estates, will contests, adoptions, name changes, guardianships and the involuntary commitment of those with serious mental impairments.
The Hancock County Juvenile Court has jurisdiction over minors who have committed acts of delinquency, unruliness, truancy or traffic offenses or who are alleged to be abused, neglected or dependent. It also handles paternity cases and those involving adults charged with contributing to the delinquency or unruliness of a minor.
The Findlay Municipal Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor criminal and traffic cases and civil disputes of less than $15,000. Its territorial jurisdiction is throughout Hancock County except for matters arising in Washington Township which are handled by the Fostoria Municipal Court. It also hears eviction cases and initial appearances by those who have been arrested for felony charges. This court has a small claims division which hears civil disputes involving claims of $3,000 or less and which can be filed by persons without the assistance of an attorney.
Change in the Rules of Superintendence:
The Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio have been amended effective July 1, 2009 (Rules 44 through 47) to protect litigants from public access to private information, which is designated “personal identifiers” and includes social security numbers, except for the last 4 digits, and all account numbers, which include debit, charge, and credit card numbers, as well as employer/employee identification numbers and a juvenile’s name in abuse, neglect and dependency actions (to use child’s initials or generic abbreviations). The court files are presumed to be public, but personal identifiers are to be omitted and the court, upon motion, may restrict public access to certain information or documents. The Clerk of Courts has prepared a form for submission of personal identifiers, and that form will be maintained in the court file in a separate envelope not accessible to the public. The responsibility for omitting personal identifiers is that of the person (party or attorney) submitting the documents for filing. The Clerk of Courts is not responsible for editing documents to redact inappropriate information. If the court orders redaction of information, the redacted version and related court order are filed in the public file and the original version is kept separately and not released without a court order. If you have any questions on the specifics, the Rules of Superintendence are available on the website of the Supreme Court of Ohio, or you may contact Cathy Wilcox, Hancock County Clerk of Courts at 419.424.7037.
Prepared by: Karen E. Elliott, Magistrate