Sheri Hall, A Domestic Violence Specialist, Reveals How The Position Functions In Greene County, Ohio, Domestic Relations Court
Our law firm represents clients in the greater Dayton, Ohio geographical area and we routinely accept cases in the counties of Montgomery, Greene, Warren, Clark, Preble and Miami. On a recent afternoon in August 2013, I spent time at the Domestic Relations Court of Greene County, Ohio to interview their Domestic Violence Specialist, Sheri Hall. This Family Law Blog article is intended to provide information to our readers relative to the roles and functions of this Court employee.
Sheri Hall was hired by the Greene County Domestic Relations Court in 2001 while Judge Judson Shattuck was the Judge of that Court. He hired her away from the Family Violence Prevention Center where she served as an Advocate/Admissions Employee. She emphasized to me that while she served as an “advocate” for her former employer, she is to serve an objective role in her present position of employment.
To prepare Sheri for this position with the Court, she obtained a degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology from Ohio University with classes/projects related to the issue of “domestic violence.” At the present time, Sheri is the person responsible for assisting clients with their needs to obtain a Civil Protection Order and/or with their needs to obtain a Civil Stalking Protection Order in Greene County, Ohio. Sheri related to me that her work used to entail driving back and forth between the Domestic Relations Court on Ledbetter Road to the Clerk of Court’s office in downtown Xenia. To save valuable time and money, Sheri is now able to file and certify pleadings from her office in the Domestic Relations Court located at 595 Ledbetter Road in Xenia, Ohio.
Persons seeking a Civil Protection Order must be able to prove or verify that they were in fear of serious imminent harm from the perpetrator of the violence. Persons seeking a Civil Stalking Protection Order must be able to prove or verify that they were being followed or stalked by the party seeking to monitor or observe their activities. The verb “stalk” is defined as “to pursue a person in a persistent, harassing, and obsessive way”. Either type of Protection Order involves two (2) hearings. The first hearing is an “ex parte” hearing meaning the other side (“perpetrator”) is not present. The hearing officer could be Judge Steven Hurley or one of the two Magistrates of the Court, Magistrate Kimberly Stump-Combs or Magistrate Cynthia Martin. The second hearing, often called a full hearing, takes place within seven (7) to ten (10) days after the ex parte hearing. The other party is present for this hearing and has the opportunity to express his or her side to the Court.
I asked Sheri about the number of Civil Protection Orders (“CPOs”) issued each year. Her records indicate that approximately 200 CPOs are issued per year. As of August 7, 2013, 137 CPOs had been issued by the Court. While most complainants or petitioners are female, there are occasions when a male will seek a CPO.
I next asked if each county in Ohio had such a specialist and she advised me that she is a rarity! Most counties in Ohio do not have the funds available to hire a Domestic Violence Specialist. When I asked her what she would request if she had an unlimited budget, she quickly responded that she would ask for an assistant. On a recent Monday, she assisted six (6) individuals with paperwork to obtain a Civil Protection Order.
How To Contact Domestic Violence Specialist Sheri Hall
The Greene County Domestic Relations Court is open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday. If a person walks in or calls close to the time of closing, Ms. Hall will ask him or her to return the next day as it may take 1.5 to 2.0 hours to work up a case and prepare the paperwork. In that event, the Domestic Violence Specialist recommends that the petitioner stay with a friend or family member or stay in a motel to avoid further contact with the opposing party or perpetrator. Ms. Hall can be reached at 937-562-6236 or 937-562-6249. The Greene County Domestic Relations Court located at 595 Ledbetter Rd, Xenia, OH 45385 is open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday.
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Anne Shale is of counsel to Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues. She is a former registered nurse and concentrates her practice in Family Law and Divorce cases.