Domestic Relations Division of Athens County Common Pleas Court
Athens, Ohio

Athens County Courthouse
Located on the 4th Floor
1 S. Court Street, Athens, Ohio USA 45701

Judge George P. McCarthy               Magistrate Melinda Bradford              Judge Patrick J. Lang
      (740) 593-3591                                  (740)592-3240                                   (740) 592-3236 
    Fax (740) 592-3020                           Fax (740) 592-3282                           Fax (740) 592-3215

The following information is general in nature and is not to be relied upon for legal advice.  If you have a question about your legal rights you should contact an attorney.  The Court and its staff are not permitted to provide you legal advice.

8/25/2021 - NOTICE - COURT HOUSE HOURS NOW 8:00 am to 4:00 pm WITH CONDITIONS
    • The Courthouse is open during our normal hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Please do not enter the courthouse if you are showing signs of infection of COVID19. No need to quarantine if you have been out of state unless your are showing signs of COVID infection.
    • You should not enter the courthouse if you have been diagnosed with having COVID-19 within the past 14 days, have had contact with a COVID-19 infected person within the last 14 days, are running a fever, have shortness of breath and/or have a chronic cough. Your temperature may be taken at the door. You need to wear a mask in the building.
    • Social distancing of at least 6 feet is still in effect.  
    • For more information, please call the Commissioner’s office at 740-592-3219.

COVID-19 and its impact on Parenting Time/Visitation Orders:

3/23/20 - It is the Court’s expectation that, even during this COVID-19 pandemic, there is compliance with parenting time/visitation orders issued by the Domestic Relations Court.  Failure to comply may subject a person to contempt of court.

Parties are encouraged to talk and work together through this.  Parties, by agreement, may modify the parenting time schedule to address health and safety concerns.  In the absence of an agreement between the parties to modify the schedule, it is the Court’s expectation that visitation occur as ordered, unless the child is sick or has a compromised immune system, someone in your household is sick or in the other parent’s household is sick, or someone in either household is in a high-risk group of contracting the virus. 

Please see Southeastern Ohio Legal Services press release concerning the issue.   SEOLS Press Release Re: Child Visitation

Thank you for your cooperation. 

- Magistrate Melinda Bradford

Link to Divorce and Dissolution Pleadings
Link to Post Divorce and Dissolution Pleadings

Supreme Court of Ohio
Link to Domestic Relations and Juvenile Standardized Forms

Link to Self Representation Guides

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Link to Affidavit of Indigency

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You may now pay your court costs and file online via the Clerk of Court's website. Click on the Courtview link below to view your case and pay online. You may also efile within your case. To use the efiling system please register within the website. 


The Domestic Relations Division is a part of the Athens Common Pleas Court. Magistrate Melinda Bradford has been the Magistrate of that court since May 1, 2008.  The Court is located on the 4th floor of the Athens County Courthouse, 1 S. Court Street, Athens, OH 45701.  The Courthouse sits on the corner of Court Street and Washington Street.  In addition to on street parking there is a parking garage located on East Washington Street. Check-in at the glass sliding door in the hallway at the Domestic Relations sign. 

Generally, the duties of the the Magistrate includes the overseeing & disposition of cases involving parties who are married involving issues surrounding Family Law which includes dissolutions, divorces, child custody, child support matters and contempt issues involving such cases.

The Magistrate sets guidelines for the attorneys to follow so that information may be exchanged between the parties and motions may be filed if necessary.  This helps the attorneys prepare for their respective cases as well as informs the opposing side the facts that support their position. This may lead to a settlement and resolution to the case. If the parties cannot reach a resolution then the case may be scheduled for hearing (trial).  At a hearing the Magistrate hears the case and acts as the factfinder and gatekeeper of the evidence.   There are no jury trials in Domestic Relations Court.  The Magistrate hears and makes recommended decisions to the judges based upon the evidence.  

Common Proceedings

The following are some examples of proceedings in Domestic Relations Court.

Temporary Orders Hearing - Upon filing a divorce action, a party may request this type of hearing to address issues of housing, spousal support, and child custody and visitation among other things.  These orders are temporary in nature and subject to change as the case progresses.  

Pre-Trial - A pre-trial hearing is where the parties and their respective attorney meet with the Magistrate to discuss issues in the case, the status of discovery, the need for appraisals and/or valuations, the need for a guardian-ad-litem to be appointed and the status of settlement negotiations. 

Status Conference - The Magistrate may meet with the attorneys for an update. 

Hearing - Sometimes referred to as a trial, a hearing  refers to the process where witnesses give testimony and evidence is submitted under oath to the Magistrate for consideration and decision. 

Additional Matters
The Magistrate also hears Petitions for Domestic Violence Civil Protection Orders, and cases being re-opened to modify custody, parenting time, child support, etc. 

Filing Fees for Domestic Cases:

  • Divorce/Dissolution with children: $350.00 without children $300.00
  • Counterclaim/Cross claim with children: $350.00 without children $300.00
  • Re-open case (Contempt): $150.00
  • Re-open case (Parental Rights/Custody): $250.00
  • Complaint for parentage $350.00 complaint for support $350.00
  • QUDRO/DOPO $80.00

Athens County Common Pleas Court - Domestic Relations Local Rules of Court - Counsel and litigants representing themselves are expected to be compliant with these local rules in addition to the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure:

The Ohio Supreme Court has made forms available on their website below.
Ohio Supreme Court Domestic Relations and Juvenile Court Forms
Athens County Common Pleas Clerk of Court Forms including Domestic Relations Forms
Filing Fees including Domestic Cases

Rev. 11/4/21 JGM