Description and Jurisdiction of Juvenile Court
The courts of common pleas, the only trial courts created by the Ohio Constitution, are established by Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution. The jurisdiction of courts of common pleas is outlined in Article IV, Seciton 4.
There is a court of common pleas in each of Ohio's 88 counties. Courts of common pleas have original jurisdiction in all felony cases and all civil cases in which the amount in controversy exceeds $500. Most courts of common pleas have specialized divisions
created by statute to decide cases involving juveniles, probate matters, and domestic relations matters. Hancock County is one of 71 courts in Ohio that has both probate and juvenile jurisdiction.
Juvenile Divisions hear cases involving persons under 18 years of age, and cases dealing with unruly, abused, dependent, and neglected children. They also have jurisdiction in adult cases involving paternity, child abuse, nonsupport, visitation, custody,
and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Common Pleas judges are elected in odd-numbered years to six-year terms on a nonpartisan ballot. A person must be an attorney with at least six years of experience in the practice of law to be elected or appointed as a common pleas judge. The Governor
makes appointments to fill vacancies in courts of common pleas that occur between elections.