House Passes Bill Clarifying Adoption Proceedings For Ohio Children
Rezabek champions effort to limit "forum shopping"

COLUMBUS—State Representative Jeff Rezabek (R-Clayton) applauded the Ohio House for passing House Bill 283, legislation he sponsored that aims to improve the process of adoption proceedings in instances of abuse, neglect or dependency when there is a jurisdictional conflict.

In an effort to clarify the law for jurisdictions of probate and juvenile courts, the bill prohibits a probate court from exercising jurisdiction over an adoption petition of a child in temporary custody or protective services, unless the juvenile court presiding over that specific case gives written consent. Rep. Rezabek pointed out in committee testimony that this change in Ohio law will limit the practice of “forum shopping” during an adoption proceeding in which the case is pending in juvenile court but a petition for adoption has been filed in probate court.

Supported by the Ohio Judicial Conference and the Public Children Services Association of Ohio, the bill works to ensure clarity, decrease litigation and provide the best pathway forward for children in these specific types of custody cases by allowing juvenile judges, who usually have a more familiar connection to the child and their family, to determine the appropriate course of action.

“House Bill 283 seeks to clarify jurisdiction in cases where juvenile and probate court have dueling jurisdictions,” Rezabek said. “It will in no way limit adoptions or slow them down. It will simply act as the next step in stopping the practice of forum shopping. This legislation strikes the balance between the two courts as well as the children service agencies that work on these types of cases.”

House Bill 283 will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

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