Is a magistrates decision an enforceable court order?

Asked over 3 years ago - Hillsboro, OH

I was recently found in contempt for not paying spousal support. Then there was a hearing to impose sentence. After the hearing to impose sentence the magistrate filed a magistrate decision stating I had to make a lump sum within 14 days and had a garnishment order. Doesn't the judge have to adobt the decision as an order before it is enforceable? I want to object to the decision. My attorney is on vacation so I would like to have some feedback so I know what I need to do. I did contact CSEA and they said it was just a magistrates order and not worth the paper it was printed on but yet they sent my employer the garnishment paperwork.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Joseph Carmen Patituce

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . You need to contact an attorney that is not on vacation, immediately.

    A magistrate's order is a proper order and can be enforced. CSEA routinely makes use of magistrates to send people to jail for contempt, without needing approval of a judge. You also only have a certain amount of time to object to the magistrate's decision for the lump sum and penalties before it is automatically adopted by the court.

    I wish you the best. If you would like a free, in person consultation regarding this, please call us at (440) 471-7784 or (216) 288-0792.

    Sincerely,

    Joseph C. Patituce

  2. Paul Michael Kocsis

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . There is a difference between a magistrate's order and a magistrate's decision. A magistrate's order is effective immediately and does not need a judge's signature. A magistrate's decision needs the judge's approval before it becomes an order. But in either case, the only way to stay the enforcement is to file objections within the time period allowed by statute.

    If your attorney is on vacation, I would suggest you call the office and see if another attorney is covering such matters and can file the objections notice with the court within the time permitted.

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