The Custody Mediation Program of the Cuyahoga County Department of Public Safety & Justice Services, has been providing a unique and valuable service to the families of Cuyahoga County since 1995. As a positive early intervention in a family crisis, mediation often eliminates the need for further court action. Mediation provides user-friendly services to the public, frees up court dockets, and makes court services more accessible to indigent clients.
In custody mediation, the mediator (a neutral third party) helps parents develop a personalized parenting and visitation plan, taking into account the needs and schedules of both parties. Mediators teach parents to communicate, listen, negotiate and interact in ways that minimize conflict. Custody and visitation disputes involving children of unmarried parents are automatically referred to mediation. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and stepparents may also be involved. Other referrals include cases in which a parent lost legal custody to a relative some time in the past and now wishes to reestablish contact.
Based upon years of providing medation services to families where a parent is returning to the community from incarceration, former Program Director Mary Malloy wrote an informative guide for the returning parent, Put Yourself in Their Shoes.
To file yourself for custody or visitation at Juvenile Court you will need to do the following:
A. Pick up Pro-Se forms at the Custody Intake office, which is located in the basement of the Juvenile Justice Center (JJC) or at Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA). The address for the JJC is 9300 Quincy Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106, and the phone # is 216/443-3149. Walk in hours at JJC are Monday-Friday from 9:00-1:00 PM and 2:00 PM- 4:00 PM. (No appointment is necessary). The Pro Se Center is closed between 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm. The Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) satellite office is located at 1640 Superior and the phone # is 443-5282, their walk in hours are Monday –Wednesday from 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM and on Thursday’s from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM.
The following information will be needed to pick up the Pro- Se forms:
1. Names, addresses, and birth dates of both parents. (Current Addresses are required)
2. Address of where the child is currently living, and name of whom that child is living with.
3. Name and birth dates of each child.
4. Parent’s marital status
The Custody Intake staff will determine the appropriate paperwork for your case. They will then go over the paperwork instructing you in how to complete it properly for filing at the Juvenile Court. They will not complete the forms for you or provide you with legal advice.
B. Complete the provided paperwork, and have the forms Notarized. Bring the completed original paperwork and at least one (1) copy back to the Intake office along with the following:
1. Copy of Birth certificate of each child. Do not bring the original birth certificate. Copies only.
2. Paternity Paperwork for each child. Can be attained by any of the following:
a. Central Paternity Registry # (Obtain by calling 1-888-810-6446)
b. Establishment of Parentage Paperwork from CSEA. (Child Support Enforcement Agency)
c. Case # from Juvenile Court.
d. Marriage license, if parents are married when child was born and there has been no divorce action that dealt with the custody of the child/ren.
3. Copy of each child’s social security card, or print out from the social security office or a refusal letter (Form SSA-L676) from the social security office.
4. Filing Fee. $105.00 for application (creating new case) and $25.00 for motions (reopening closed case).
The completed paperwork will be reviewed by the Pro Se office (JJC Suite 2600) for completeness and once approved the filing party will then be directed to the Juvenile Court Clerk’s office (JJC 2nd Floor) to file their application or motion for custody or visitation. Cases will then either be created by the filing of an application or reopened by the filing of a motion. The Clerk’s office will either direct the case to Custody Mediation for handling, or it will be sent directly to a Judge or magistrate to be set for hearing.
Office of Mediation
9300 Quincy, 3rd floor
Cleveland, OH 44106