It's time to learn about the candidates on the November 08 ballot. This is a BIG election that will affect our daily lives. Meet Kirsten Pscholka-Gartner, candidate for the Richland County Domestic Relations Court.
Kirsten Pscholka-Gartner is running for Judge of the Richland County Domestic Relations Court, where she has served as a magistrate for the past 11 years. The Court handles child support, custody, and divorce cases. As magistrate, she conducts proceedings and issues decisions under the supervision of current Domestic Relations Court Judge Heather Cockley who is retiring. For the past three years, Pscholka-Gartner has been the Court’s Chief Magistrate.
Pscholka-Gartner hopes to make the Court more accessible. She has many ideas on how she would do this as Domestic Relations Judge. She will continue using remote technology, like Zoom, so people don’t have to take time off work or find childcare to attend a family court session, which may only last 15 minutes. She would establish an electronic filing system so people can upload paperwork from home, saving a trip to the courthouse and expediting the process so cases can be addressed more quickly. Pscholka-Gartner plans to educate families about legal options, like putting in place Local Rule, a basic co-parenting schedule. She says, “It’s generally better for the child and for the parents to have that relationship. And, if they’re seeing their child, they’re more likely to pay their child support as well.” And while court can be intimidating for adults, it can be even more so for children. Pscholka-Gartner would implement the creation of a child-friendly interview room to relieve some of that stress.
Pscholka-Gartner’s enforcement of child support obligations has helped lead to an increase in collected payments, which directly benefits children in Richland County. She has also led the effort for parents who are delinquent on payments to have warrants recalled as part of her highly successful Child Support Bench Warrant Amnesty Day.
Sometimes overlooked is the fact that the Domestic Relations Judge is also responsible for managing the business aspects of the Court including budget and staff. Pscholka-Gartner would maintain the current staff, with whom she has worked with for the past 11 years. She says, “If I’m elected, I think it will be a smooth transition. I think the court runs well and will continue to run well.” As part of her comprehensive approach, Pscholka-Gartner would like to provide trauma training for her staff, Guardians ad Litem, home investigators, and interested attorneys to recognize trauma in adults and children. She says this would also allow the court to “give more appropriate orders once identified, and all that leads to a stronger parent at the end of the process. Solutions like that are life changing for families.”
Pscholka-Gartner was born in Richland County and has spent her career working here as a public servant since 2004. Notably, during her time as a lawyer for the Prosecutor’s Office, Pscholka-Gartner argued and won a case before the Supreme Court of Ohio.
Outside of her regular duties, Pscholka-Gartner is an active resident. She served two years as Councilwoman for the Village of Lexington. From 2005-2018 she volunteered as a legal advisor for the Lexington High School Mock Trial Teams. And she has served as a mentor for both Capital University’s Women’s Law Association and the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Magistrate Mentorship Program.
Pscholka-Gartner is a member of the Richland County Bar Association, the Ohio Association of Magistrates, and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.
She earned her undergraduate degree from Capital University in 2001, and her juris doctor from Capital University Law School in 2004. She passed the Bar at age 23. She is licensed to practice in the U. S. Supreme Court, the U. S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, and the State of Ohio.
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