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Common Pleas Court

Defiance County Common Pleas Court hears cases involving such matters as real estate, personal injury, breach of contract, marital conflicts, and business relationships. This is also the court that hears all criminal felony cases, since municipal and county courts are limited to misdemeanor offenses. The common pleas court also has the authority to hear administrative appeals from municipal and county agencies.

The geographical boundaries of municipal, county and mayor's courts are regulated by statute, but the common pleas court has countywide jurisdiction. Because this jurisdiction is established by the Ohio Constitution, its boundaries cannot be changed without a constitutional amendment.

Courts of Common Pleas

Defiance County Common Pleas Court also has a domestic relations division which hears only marital disputes that consist of actions for divorce, dissolution, annulment, legal separation and child custody, as well as support for spouses and children. A juvenile court also may be a division of the common pleas court or of that court's probate division or domestic relations division.

General Division
Civil and criminal cases; appeals from most administrative agencies.

Domestic Relations Division
Divorces and dissolutions; support and custody of children.

Probate Division
Decedents’ estates; Mental illness; adoption issues; marriage licenses and perform weddings.

Juvenile Division
Offenses involving minors; most paternity actions.

Judge Joseph N. Schmenk

University of Toledo - B.A. (Economics) Magna Cum Laude 1977.
University of Notre Dame - J.D. 1980.
Defiance County Municipal Court Judge 1988 - 1990.
Defiance County Common Pleas Court Judge (General Division) 1990 - Current
Past President and Trustee of the Ohio Common Pleas Judges Association
Member of the Ohio Supreme Court Rules Advisory Committee 1999 - 2005.
Inaugural Fellow - The Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center, Washington D.C.