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Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Bill drafted to prevent adoption disputes

By Ed Gebert
CELINA - An Ohio House bill was drawn up to prevent disputes between courts in child-custody cases, according to the bill's author, Rep. Jeffery Rezebek, R-Clayton.
Rezebek said he did not know the specifics in the Maddy custody case involving adoptive parents Brian and Kelly Anderson, Celina, but the dispute that arose between the courts in Mercer and Allen counties over the case last year inspired him to write House Bill 383.
Columbus attorney Susan Garner Eisenmen late last week issued a news release claiming legislators would try to rush the bill through with the state budget bill, which is set for final passage on July 1. She urged residents to call their representatives and tell them to ensure the bill goes through the normal vetting process. Rezebek noted, however, that the bill was not intended to be attached to the budget, and he had not heard of any effort to do so.
"Obviously, this would not change the results of that (Maddy) case, but I wanted to set out a clear set of laws for any future case involving more than one court," he said.
With legislators working to pass the state's biennial budget bill before the July 1 deadline, Rezebek said he is unsure when debate over HB 383 is scheduled.
The representative, who has worked as an attorney for nearly 20 years in private practice, said he and some colleagues closely followed the rulings in Maddy's custody dispute in Mercer and Allen counties' probate courts.
"We could see there were some very smart lawyers working on both sides of that custody question, and the case could be made that both sides should have jurisdiction," he said.
Cynthia Scanland, director of Allen County Children Services, said the agency has no official position on HB 283, but anything that will clarify which court would have jurisdiction in such cases would be welcome.
"We want to make sure that these kids that are in foster care or people who are filing for custody that we do our best as the state of Ohio to get permanency as soon as possible for these children so they can move on and have positive, constructive lives and that they are loved by some great families," Rezebek said.

The article should not have included a comment attributed to Cynthia Scanland, director of Allen County Children Services. The error occurred in reporting.
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