The State Constitution created the Ohio Court of Common Pleas. These are trial courts of general jurisdiction that hold both jury and bench trials. There is one Court of Common Pleas in each of the 88 counties.
In many Courts of Common Pleas, the General Assembly separates this court into divisions to handle common cases. The typical divisions are:
General Division - handling civil and criminal cases of a general nature and appeals from administrative agencies.
Domestic Relations Division - handles all divorces, separations, child custody, alimony, annulments, and other family-related issues.
Juvenile Division - responsible for cases involving minors such as juvenile delinquency, and paternity actions. This division also handles cases involving child abuse and neglect, paternity, and issues with failing to send children to school.
Probate Division - handling decedents’ estates, wills, trusts, guardianships, adoptions, marriage licenses, and mental illness cases. These divisions may also perform marriage ceremonies.
Court of Common Pleas judges must first be attorneys practicing law for six years before being elected in a nonpartisan vote. They serve six-year terms. The Courts of Common Pleas handle cases ranging from tort, real property of $15,000 or more, civil lawsuits, mental health cases, domestic relations, probate/estate matters, felonies, misdemeanors, juvenile issues, traffic violations, and administrative agency appeals.
The Ohio Judicial System website has a listing of all trial courts for the state, listed alphabetically. This includes all the Courts of Common Pleas in each county. Additionally, they have a separate website with Ohio court news and other helpful publications for the general public.
For the last year tallied, Courts of Common Pleas saw 113,250 cases in the general division, 109,257 in the domestic relations division, 85,831 in the probate division and 224,705 in the juvenile division for an annual total of 533,043.