YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that parents cannot appeal a custody decision based on a 90-day hearing rule.

The case surrounds a 2018 case out of Butler County where Children Services took temporary custody of three children due to the home being unsafe.

During the temporary custody proceedings, both parents were present but did not appeal the temporary custody decision. They had 30 days to do so.

In February 2020, the agency sought permanent custody of the three children, and it was granted during a hearing in October 2020 where both parents were present.

On appeal, the parents said that the temporary custody order in 2018 was void because a hearing to award temporary custody was not held within the 90-day deadlines set by law. The appeals court agreed and reversed the juvenile court’s decision. The Children Services agency appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

The question to the panel is whether the juvenile court’s custody award was void because the hearing was not held within 90 days so therefore its decision is void. In essence, did the court lose its power to decide based on the violation of the time frame? The majority decision was that it did not.

A decision awarding temporary custody to an agency is a final appealable order and an appeal must be filed within 30 days of the judgment entry,” the Court stated. “Because the mother and father failed to timely appeal the judgments of temporary custody, the judgments are valid and the current challenge is barred by res judicata,” the Court concluded.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Patrick F. Fischer stated that at the time of the dispute, the law required a temporary custody hearing within 90 days. If the juvenile court failed to meet the deadline, the court’s decision was void. Because it was void, a parent could challenge the court’s ruling at any time, he wrote.