Do you need a lawyer?

To help you decide if you need a lawyer, you may want to read the below articles. If you find you need legal advice, but do not know a lawyer, you may want to check first with relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc.  They may be able to recommend an attorney.

If yes, here's how to find one.

There are other places you can go to find a lawyer.

Martindale-Hubbell contains ratings and directory information about domestic and international attorneys. You may be able to find attorneys in a particular location with a particular subject specialty.

Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO) provides high quality FREE legal services to eligible low-income families and individuals in Hancock County. Matters involving domestic violence, child custody, evictions, home foreclosure, bankruptcy, and public benefits are the types of cases handled by legal aid advocates. More information can be found about the services LAWO provides at

Applications can be made by calling Legal Aid Line at 1-888-534-1432 or by visiting legal aid line at

Legal Aid is sponsoring FREE CLINICS on the topic of PRO SE DIVORCE. If you do not have an attorney and qualify for legal aid assistance, you can get help with filling out forms for the Domestic Relations Court. To pre-enroll or ask questions, please contact Legal Aid of Northwestern Ohio, Findlay office at (419) 425-5745.

A notary public is a person appointed by the Ohio Secretary of State and authorized to perform the following functions:

  • Administer oaths required or authorized by law
  • Acknowledge signatures for deeds, mortgages, certificates of title and other documents 
  • Take depositions
  • Receive, make, and record notarial protests

If you are a Hancock County resident who is interested in becoming a Notary Public, you should contact the Hancock County Clerk of Courts office at 419-424-7837 or visit the Hancock County Notary Public website.

For general information about Notaries Public, see the Ohio Notary Commission website

The unauthorized practice of law is the rendering of legal services for another person by any person not admitted to the practice in Ohio under Rule I and not granted active status Under Rule VI, or certified under Rule II, Rule IX, or Rule XI of the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio.

The Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law of the Supreme Court acting on its own behalf, or, through the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee of any regularly organized bar association, such as the Findlay-Hancock County Bar Association Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, shall receive evidence, preserve the record, make findings, and submit recommendations concerning complaints of unauthorized practice of law.

Any Hancock County, Ohio, resident who believes that a person has practiced law in violation of Ohio licensure requirements may file a written complaint with the Findlay/Hancock County Bar Association Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee.  Please call (419) 424-9500 and leave a message on the answering machine for the Grievance Committee and an appropriate person will respond to your inquiry.

Laws and our legal system affect each of us in our daily lives and yet they can seem overwhelming to a non-lawyer. And the number of federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and court decisions in existence grows every day. That’s why it’s always important to consult with a lawyer when your legal rights and responsibilities are at issue.

But if you just want to learn about the sources of the law, the types of laws, and some basic legal principles, there are a number of resources that are available on the Internet, free of charge.

  • Law You Can Use: This site has short articles on dozens of topics such as automobile accidents, bankruptcy, consumer rights, criminal laws, divorce, foreclosure, real estate, trials, wills.
  • Legal Basics for Small Businesses: This site is a book-length overview of basic areas of the law as they affect the operation of a small business.
  • Serving on a JuryThis site explains the basics about what juries do.
  • The Law and You: This site is a book-length overview of basic areas of the law as they affect or daily lives.

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

The following mediators have confirmed their availability for private mediation in Hancock County. There are other mediators in the State of Ohio, and you may contact the Ohio Mediation Association or other services for additional names and information on mediation and mediators. If you retain a private mediator, you are responsible directly to that mediator for any cost or fees associated with the mediation. The provision of this list of mediators is not a referral to or endorsement of any named mediators by the bar association.

Michael Hyrne

Bowling Green, Ohio
[email protected]

Holly Sinn-Bailey

28 North Main Street
Kenton, Ohio 43326
[email protected]

Christie Ranzau

320 South Main Street
Findlay, Ohio 45840
[email protected]


Parenting issues only:

Elizabeth Candler

131 Hancock Street
Findlay, Ohio 45840
[email protected]

Mary Goebel Kamala

500 North Main Street
Findlay, Ohio 45840