Pscholka-Gartner Running For Richland County Domestic Relations Judge

Domestic Relations Court Chief Magistrate Kirsten Pscholka-Gartner is running as a candidate in the November 8, 2022, General Election for Richland County Domestic Relations judge. Former Richland County Commissioner Ed Olson is serving as her campaign treasurer. Olson commented, “I served 28 years as a Richland County Commissioner. In those years, I worked with 41 different elected county office holders. Not since the election of Jim DeWeese as judge of the Court of Common Pleas have I seen a judicial candidate who is more qualified and experienced to assume the role of a Richland County judge as Kirsten Pscholka-Gartner.”

Pscholka-Gartner served as a Richland County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for six years where she was primarily responsible for felony appeals in the Fifth District Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Ohio. As an Assistant Prosecutor, Pscholka-Gartner also handled cases in the Richland County Juvenile Court and assisted the Prosecutor’s Civil Division with pending litigation in the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

For the last eleven years, Pscholka-Gartner has served as a Magistrate in the Richland County Domestic Relations Court. She has been the Court’s Chief Magistrate since 2019. “The families who come before the Domestic Relations Court deserve a Judge who treats them with compassion, fairness, and efficiency. I believe I have done that in my work as a Magistrate,” Pscholka-Gartner said.

Pscholka-Gartner helped establish and presides over a review and sentencing program for individuals who are found in contempt for non-payment of child support. In 2017, the Court enforced the collection of more than $356,000 in annual support payments. That amount increased to $442,000 in 2018. By the end of 2019, the Court enforced the collection of more than $564,000 in annual child support, which directly benefited children in Richland County. Pscholka-Gartner noted that the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused many obligors to lose their jobs and required the Court to hold hearings remotely, impacted the Court’s child support enforcement efforts. However, many obligors are now back to work and paying their obligations.

Based on her experience as a Magistrate, Pscholka-Gartner has plans to improve the Court to better serve Richland County families:

1. Pscholka-Gartner will create a child-friendly space where the Court can conduct interviews with children.

2. She will expand the Court’s existing children’s classes, which currently provide support and education for children whose parents are going through a divorce, and to address the needs of children of never-married parents who are involved in custody cases.

3. She will work with the Richland County Child Support Enforcement Agency to include the Court’s standard parenting time order when child support is established if both parents agree. “In my experience, one of the most common reasons child support obligors cite for not paying their child support is that they are not permitted to see their children. I believe having both parents involved in their children’s lives is generally beneficial to children, and involved parents are more likely to financially support their children”, Pscholka-Gartner said.

4. Pscholka-Gartner will stress the importance of proactively addressing the needs of parties or children who have suffered trauma by training Court staff, Guardians ad Litem, and Home Investigators to recognize the signs of trauma and issue orders for trauma-based assessments, counseling, or other treatment in cases where trauma may be impacting the parties or children. Many of the litigants and children involved in Domestic Relations cases have suffered trauma in their lives. Pscholka-Gartner believes it is important to address the underlying causes of domestic violence, such as addiction, mental illness, or anger and control issues. To do so, Pscholka-Gartner will issue orders for mental health or drug and alcohol assessments, counseling and the DOVE program, which is designed specifically for domestic violence offenders, in civil protection order cases

Kirsten Pscholka-Gartner is a lifelong resident of Richland County. She is a graduate of Lexington High School, Capital University, and the Capital University School of Law. She is admitted to practice law in the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, and the State of Ohio.

Photo: Getty Images

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