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PROBATE JUDGE MONTGOMERY: MARRIAGE LICENSES WILL BE REISSUED AT NO COST IF YOUR WEDDING WAS POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19 EMERGENCY

Franklin County Probate Judge Robert G. Montgomery announced today he will be helping those who had their wedding plans postponed due to the COVID-19 emergency.  Marriage licenses issued in Franklin County and not able to be solemnized within sixty days, as required by state law, will be reissued at no cost. 

Ohio Revised Code Section 3101.07 states: “No marriage license shall be effective nor shall it authorize the performance of a marriage ceremony after the expiration of sixty days from the date of issuance. This provision shall be printed on each license in prominent type.

For those wishing to obtain a marriage license, Judge Montgomery has instituted new procedures to protect the public health.  Marriage licenses will only be issued to those applicants who call the Probate Court in advance to set an appointment. Applicants should call (614) 525-3108 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to schedule an appointment. Applicants are encouraged to postpone obtaining a marriage license due to the threat of COVID – 19 (coronavirus). However, the Probate Court will still issue your marriage license, so long as all legal requirements are satisfied and applicants call in advance to schedule an appointment.

This new process is necessary to allow the Court to respect the required social distancing strongly suggested by the Director of Public Health to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Applicants are required to pay in cash with exact change or with credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover). Applicants should report to Meeting Hall A (auditorium) in the Franklin County Courthouse, 373 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio. You will be health screened in accordance with a Court Order issued and found here.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation with us as we continue to deliver services to the people of Franklin County.

 

 

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NEW PROCESS FOR MARRIAGE LICENSES

Effective 8:00 a.m., Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Due to the decision by the Franklin County Commissioners to close the Franklin County Courthouse Complex, effective 3/21/2020, and the “Stay At Home” order issued by Governor DeWine and Ohio Director of Health Dr. Amy Acton, the following new procedures will be in effect for the issuance of marriage licenses starting 3/24/2020.

Marriage licenses will only be issued to those applicants who call the Probate Court in advance to set an appointment. Applicants should call (614) 525-3108 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to schedule an appointment.

Applicants are encouraged to postpone obtaining a marriage license due to the threat of COVID – 19 (coronavirus). However, if you will be getting married within the next couple of weeks, the Probate Court will still issue your marriage license, so long as all legal requirements are satisfied and applicants call in advance to schedule an appointment.

This new process is necessary to allow the Court to respect the required social distancing strongly suggested by the Director of Public Health to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

Applicants are required to pay in cash with exact change.


Applicants should report to Meeting Hall A (auditorium) in the Franklin County Courthouse, 373 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio.  You will be health screened in accordance with a Court Order issued today and found here.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation with us as we continue to deliver services to the people of Franklin County.
 

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Judge Montgomery Develops New Guardianship Program to Help Parents Address Mental Health Needs with Children

Judge Montgomery developed a new guardianship concept referred to as a “Limited Guardianship for Mental Health Care Purposes.” This Limited Guardianship will allow parents to stay involved in their children’s mental health care needs after they turn 18.  This will help children make a successful transition into their next phase of life without putting them under the burdens or confines of a full Guardianship.  This Limited Guardianship only comes into effect when parents are dealing with the mental health care needs of their child and is 100% confidential like all other medical information.

If you think this is a program that could benefit any member of your family, please feel free to contact the Franklin County Probate Court Resource Center at 614-525-3894 and ask to schedule an appointment.  You can also call the Resource Center Information Line at 614-525-3891 to learn more about our Franklin County Probate Court Resource Center.
 
Click here for Limited Guardianship for Mental Health Care Purposes Forms.
 

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JUDGE MONTGOMERY HONORED BY OHIO GUARDIANSHIP ASSOCIATION WITH DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD

Franklin County Probate Judge Robert G. Montgomery has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Ohio Guardianship Association.  Judge Montgomery received the award at the Ohio Guardianship Association’s Annual Conference in Fairborn.

 

“It is an honor to receive this award from such a group of distinguished people that continually try to make other people’s lives better when there simply is no one else.  Having the Ohio Guardianship Association recognizing our public guardianship program here in Franklin County is the ultimate validation of the program’s success,” Judge Montgomery said.  

 

This is the second award that Montgomery has received in 2019.  Earlier this year, the Ohio Association of Probate Judges awarded Montgomery with the Award of Judicial Excellence

 

Montgomery, who has been a speaker at previous OGA conferences, has introduced new guardianship programs in Franklin County.  Working with the Ohio General Assembly, Montgomery created the Franklin County Guardianship Service Board, the first public guardian in Ohio.  The success from the implementation of the Guardianship Service Board led to the Ohio General Assembly passing legislation to allow for other Ohio counties to have their own public guardian.  Last year, Montgomery created a new Limited Guardianship for Mental Health Care Purposes, allowing family members to be involved in the mental health care of a loved one after the age of 18. 

 

Other organizations who work closest with our most vulnerable citizens have recognized Montgomery for his work.  The National Association of Social Workers Ohio Region Chapter V recognized Montgomery as Public Official of the Year.  Also, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Franklin County awarded Montgomery with the Charleta Tavares Champion Award

 

Montgomery has been recognized for his initiatives by his colleagues in the judiciary.  Along with the Award of Judicial Excellence from earlier this year, the Ohio Association of Probate Judges previously awarded Montgomery with a Meritorious Service Award.  The Ohio Supreme Court awarded Montgomery with two Certificates of Appreciation for his service on the Commission on the Rules of Superintendence. 

Read the Daily Reporter article

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Probate Court Creates Innovative Mental Health Program

Franklin County Probate Judge Robert G. Montgomery announced that yesterday the Court conducted its first Outpatient Commitment Court (OCC) case for its newly developed program. The OCC is a cooperative program between the Franklin County ADAMH Board and the Probate Court, which provides necessary support to mentally ill patients, allowing them to remain in the community, versus being institutionalized through the involuntary inpatient civil mental commitment process.

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SPECIAL NOTICE RE: COVID-19

Effective March 31, 2020

As a result of the COVID-19 virus emergency, our filing process will change temporarily for cases that are physically paper-filed. E-filing remains available without any change in procedures.

After careful review and consideration of Governor DeWine’s Executive Order 2020-01D declaring a state of emergency, of subsequent related orders issued by Governor DeWine and by the Ohio Department of Health, and of the guidelines and directives issued by the Supreme Court of Ohio regarding court operations during the present COVID-19 pandemic, in all cases which require paper filings, the court is currently accepting documents submitted via drop box or via U.S. mail or other commercial delivery service. However, pursuant to the most recent advisory guidelines received by the court from Columbus Public Health, there is evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may survive on paper for up to forty-eight hours.

Beginning immediately, and in the interest of limiting potential spread of the virus and of protecting court personnel and the public, all paper filings submitted to the court by drop box or by mail are held for forty-eight hours after receipt prior to their processing and review.

The Franklin County Probate Court’s drop box location is as follows:

Franklin County Government Complex, Ohio Probate Court, 373 S. High Street, Pavilion Entrance, Lobby near security, Columbus, Ohio 43215 (Southwest corner of Mound and South High Street)

No persons are permitted on the 22nd floor without prior approval of the Court.

The court’s mailing address is:

Franklin County, Ohio Probate Court, 373 S. High Street, 22nd Floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215-6311

Certain filings submitted under exigent circumstances shall be exempt from the holding period, including filings in the expedited or emergency appointment of a guardian; filings regarding temporary restraining orders; and other filings in respect of an immediate threat to an individual’s person and/or estate. Requests to arrange for the exemption of a filing, or to physically appear in court, may be made by contacting the magistrates’ assistant at 614-525-3896 to explain the exigent nature of the circumstances at hand.

This order shall remain in effect only for the duration of the present COVID-19 pandemic.

Please note that the court can only accept payment by money order or attorney’s check at this time for paper-filed cases. Please call the court at 614-525-3894 to calculate your court costs.
Blank checks will not be accepted. Payment by cash or credit card is not available at the court until further notice, except in the marriage department, which is able to accept credit/debit cards or cash with exact change tendered ($65.00). E-filing payments remain unaffected by these temporary changes.

The duty magistrate desk remains closed until further notice.

Court personnel are currently reviewing the hearing docket through May 1, 2020. You will be notified if your case is being continued to a later date.

Please contact the court’s main phone number at 614-525-3894 to obtain information and availability for the Resource Center.

At present, marriage licenses will only be issued to those applicants who call the Probate Court in advance to set an appointment. Applicants should call 614-525-3108 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to schedule an appointment. Applicants are encouraged to postpone obtaining a marriage license due to the threat of COVID-19. However, if you will be getting married within the next couple of weeks, the Probate Court will still issue your marriage license, so long as legal requirements are satisfied, and applicants call in advance to schedule an appointment. Applicants are required to pay in cash with exact change ($65.00) or with a credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover). Applicants with appointments should report to Meeting Hall A (auditorium) in the Franklin County Courthouse, 373 South High Street, Columbus, Ohio. Applicants will be health screened prior to proceeding to their appointment.

Thank you for your assistance and understanding as we continue to serve the public during this difficult time.
 

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Guardianship Service Board Works

Upon taking office as Probate Judge in Franklin County, Ohio, Judge Robert Montgomery had a vision to change the guardianship system from an attorney-based guardianship system to one where social services agencies take the lead in protecting the needs of the indigent.

Today, the Franklin County Guardianship Services Board is making that vision reality.

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Judge Montgomery Provides Information for Ways To Avoid Probating Real Estate

Franklin County Probate Judge Robert G. Montgomery has started a “Good Deeds Program” to save families legal costs in the future.  By providing simple tips for people buying or holding real estate, the Program provides free estate planning tools to help avoid probate court.
 
First, couples may want to consider a real estate survivorship deed for couples.  Unless your property is in a trust or an LLC, the deed must include language to the effect of “FOR THEIR JOINT LIVES, REMAINDER TO THE SURVIVOR OF THEM.”  If an individual landowner dies, real property would be considered a “probate asset,” costing you more time and money by having to go through the probate court process merely to transfer ownership of the property into the surviving partner’s name.
 
Therefore, in most cases, couples buying a house may want a survivorship deed executed at the time of purchase.  If you are recently married and are in the process of buying your first house, you may want to instruct the preparer of your deed to include the necessary survivorship language in your deed.
 
Second, there is a way for single individuals and widows or widowers to transfer property, while saving time and money – all without having to go through the probate process.  A Transfer on Death (T.O.D.) Affidavit states the individual’s name, legally identifies the property, and names the beneficiary or beneficiaries of the property upon death of the current owner.  Once executed, if the property is located in Franklin County, the property owner should file the T.O.D. affidavit with the Franklin County Recorder’s Office. 
 
“The costs to prepare and file a survivorship deed or a T.O.D. affidavit are minimal compared to the costs to probate property after the death of a property owner.  Preparation now will save you time and money later,” Judge Montgomery said. 
 
Judge Montgomery strongly recommends individuals prepare a will.  Individuals can contact the Columbus Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at 614-221-0754 to begin this process.  For information on the Probate Court’s “Good Deeds Program,” visit the Probate Court website at https://probate.franklincountyohio.gov

Click here to view the Good Deeds Program brochure.

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Judge Montgomery Receives Award of Judicial Excellence

At the Ohio Association of Probate Judges’ 2019 Summer Conference, our very own Judge Montgomery received an Award of Judicial Excellence in his pursuit of finding a solution to the guardianship problem in Franklin County.  This same statute has now been expanded to the entire State of Ohio and other counties throughout the state can establish their own Guardianship Service Board to help address their county’s needs.

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Ohio County Establishes Unique Guardianship System

When Robert Montgomery was elected the sole Probate Judge of Ohio’s largest county in 2014 (sic 2010), he inherited a guardianship system in total disarray. … So, Montgomery, who had never held judicial office before he ousted Franklin County’s longstanding probate judge, set out to completely revamp the system.

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Better Care For The Vulnerable

A Columbus Dispatch editorial

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Vulnerable Now Getting Better Help

A Columbus Dispatch editorial

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Judge Montgomery Receives Prestigious Award

The National Association of Social Workers Ohio Chapter Region V nominated Judge Montgomery to receive their "Public Elected Official of the Year" award for 2016.

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JUDGE MONTGOMERY REMINDS RESIDENTS OF LIMITED GUARDIANSHIP PROGRAM FOR THEIR LOVED ONE’S MENTAL HEALTH NEEDS

In 2018, Franklin County Probate Judge Robert G. Montgomery created a Limited Guardianship for Mental Health Care Purposes at the Franklin County Probate Court.  The goal of this program is to allow family members the ability to be involved in an adult loved one’s mental health treatment. 

 

This program should be considered if you are caring for a loved one who requires your assistance and support to comply with their mental health goals, if your loved one is over the age of 18 or soon reaching the age of 18.  The program may ensure your continued involvement and may avoid the need for involuntary civil commitment by ensuring mental health treatment sooner rather than later. 

 

“The key purpose of this limited guardianship is to allow a family member to be able to stay involved in the mental health care decisions of a child after they reach the age of 18.  This will allow at risk children to transition into adulthood with your assistance without putting them under the confines of more restrictive programs,” said Judge Montgomery.

 

Some key offerings of this program are that the service may be confidential, it provides the opportunity for treatment sooner rather than later, allows for continued support after a loved one turns 18 years old, and gives the ability to coordinate a mental health plan with your loved one and their treatment team. 

 

Further information about this important program can be found by clicking here.

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Judge Montgomery Creates the State's First Public Guardian

Probate Judge Robert G. Montgomery today assigned four wards to guardianship under the newly created Franklin County Guardianship Service Board. The assigning of indigent wards to the Board represents a first of its kind pilot program for a “Public Guardian” in the State of Ohio. It represents a shift from an attorney-based system to a social services model. The Board is funded without the imposition of any new taxes.

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Superintendence Rule 66 Regarding Adult Guardianships

As of June 1, 2015 the Supreme Court of Ohio has implemented new Superintendence Rule 66 regarding adult guardianship cases. An important provision in this new rule is guardianship training which requires all guardians of adults to receive 6 hours of fundamental education, then 3 hours of continuing education every year thereafter.

In addition, the Court has enacted Local Rule 66.13 for the procedure for complaints.

Please visit the Court's website periodically for updates on guardian's responsibilities and other fundamental education sessions and future continuing education sessions.

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Outpatient Only Commitments

The law regarding outpatient commitment for the mentally ill individual took effect on September 17, 2014. Please click here for further information.

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Background Check Required For Guardianship Applicants


Upon applying for guardianship you are required to have a BCI background check performed. Background checks should be completed as soon as possible to allow for processing. Timeframe for processing is 3 to 30 days. Click on the below link to locate a BCI background check site near you.

Background checks may also be performed at Probate Court during regular business hours.

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