Welcome to the Hamilton County Probate Court

Judge Ralph Winkler and the Hamilton County Probate Court employees are committed to providing excellent service through courtesy, dedication and professionalism while following all laws of the United States of America and State of Ohio. The Court ensures prompt and equal access to all court records and services by using the latest technology to consistently improve accuracy and efficiency in our office, while increasing the times and locations that citizens can access our services. We strive to protect the rights and safety of all people, and those the court have been entrusted to protect, with prompt and just resolution to all legal matters brought before the Court. The Court provides over 80 unique services, some of them include assisting in the distribution of assets from generation to generation, providing guardianship for residents who cannot care for themselves and growing families through marriage and adoptions.

Forms

The "forms" section of this website allows you to find the forms you need to complete and file with our office. We anticipate adding more forms as they become available. Select your service below by clicking on the drop down menu.

judge-winkler

THE HONORABLE JUDGE RALPH E. WINKLER

Judge Ralph Winkler is a lifelong resident of Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from Colerain High School in 1979 and the University of Cincinnati in 1983 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. He earned his J.D. from Chase Law School at Northern Kentucky University graduating in 1987.  While in law school, Judge Winkler worked full time as a law clerk in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.  After passing the Bar in 1987, he worked in the private practice of law and as an assistant prosecutor until April of 1999 when the Governor appointed him a Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge.   In 2004, he was elected to the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas and was reelected for a second term in 2010.  In 2004, Judge Winkler received his diploma in Judicial Skills from the American Academy of Judicial Education and in 2008 was named Trial Judge of the Year by the Hamilton County Trial Lawyers Association.  He has served as adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati College Of Law.  After winning the Election for Hamilton County Probate Court Judge in November 2014, in 2015 Judge Winkler began serving the public by hearing cases involving adoptions, mental health care, guardianships, estates, and other probate cases.  He is married to Teresa Winkler and has three daughters and seven grandchildren.  As a judge since 1999, he has presided over 36,000 + cases, giving him a wide variety of great experience.  He feels blessed to hold a job he loves and looks forward to what each new day brings. 

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Recent Alerts

Effective 6/22/2020, the Hamilton County Probate Court will begin to reopen access to the Magistrates’ offices for questions or approvals and the Assignment Desk on the 10th floor under certain guidelines.

The Accounts Department will remain closed to in-person reviews at this time. Please continue to leave all accounts in the basket on the information counter. There will be no access to the Magistrates’ lobby without first stopping at the Information Counter for the review of documents that need to be presented to a Magistrate. Only upon the Clerk’s approval can you enter the Magistrates’ lobby. No one is allowed to access the Magistrates without wearing a mask or facial covering. Only 4 individuals are allowed in a Magistrates’ office at any one time. Chairs have been set up in the lobby and the Magistrates’ offices to ensure social distancing.

The same protocols regarding hearings are now required when visiting a Magistrate in person.

As a reminder:

1. If a party or attorney is ill, has a fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, chills, sneezing or other symptom consistent with having the COVID -19 virus, please do not visit the Court in person.
  
2. If a party or attorney resides in a household with, has been a caretaker for, or has knowledge that they have been exposed to anyone with the COVID-19 virus within the two weeks preceding, please do not visit the Court in person.
  
If in doubt about where you need to go to conduct Court business, or if you have any questions, please call 1-513-946-3570 between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM M-F.

Due to the fluidity of the public health crisis, the Court will continue to monitor any releases or directives from relevant agencies and may modify accordingly the operating procedures set forth herein.  Please monitor the Court's website for any new information.

Once again, thank you for your assistance and understanding as we continue to serve the public during this difficult time.


Judge Ralph Winkler
 
Please read the following information regarding the re-issue of marriage licenses that have expired during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Marriage Licenses that became invalid during the COVID-19 pandemic

In-Person Hearing Requirements

Beginning June 15, 2020, in-person hearings at the Hamilton County Probate Court will be subject to the following conditions:

1. If a party or attorney is ill, has a fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, chills, sneezing or other symptom consistent with having the COVID -19 virus, the Court will continue the hearing. The party and /or attorney should contact the court to reschedule the hearing. 

2. If a party or attorney resides in a household with, has been a caretaker for, or has knowledge that they have been exposed to anyone with the COVID-19 virus within the two weeks preceding the hearing, the Court will continue the hearing.  The party and/or attorney should contact the court to reschedule the hearing. 

3. Social distancing will be practiced in the courtrooms. As a result, the number of persons allowed into the courtroom will be limited to the applicant, fiduciary (if applicable) and attorney(s). Friends and family members will not be granted access. 

4. Due to the social distancing requirement, parties should arrive on the 10th floor no more than 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start of their hearing.

5. The use of masks while at the court is mandatory.

 

Effective June 4, 2020 the REVISED MARRIAGE LICENSE PROCESS caused by the COVID-19 health crisis will end.  At this time, the marriage license process will return to normal operations. As of June 1, 2020, the Court officially opened for same-day in-person applications and license issuance.

The Court will no longer accept any dropped off applications or any postmarked applications after June 8, 2020. The Court will no longer schedule in-person appointments. Any paperwork received up until June 8th will be held until applicants come into the office to complete the marriage license process. Any paperwork received after June 8th will be destroyed due to the confidential nature of the paperwork.
Effective 6/01/2020, the Hamilton County Probate Court will begin to transition back to reopening to the public as the “Shelter-In-Place” order issued by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Governor’s Office has been lifted. Social distancing and facial coverings are still part of our protocol, as recommended, at this time. All visitors to the Court will be required to wear a facial covering while they are here. Anyone not following these protocols will be asked to leave. 

The resumption of in-person hearings with conditions previously listed in our recent alerts is still in effect.

Our Information Desk, Cashier’s Office, Issue Desk and File Room will reopen to answer your questions, provide necessary forms, fulfill your requests and take payments with social distancing requirements still observed. The six foot distance requirements will be plainly marked on the floor for all visitors. Documents as well as payments will no longer have a quarantine requirement and will be accepted as previously suggested on our website. However, all documents must continue to be filled out off-site until further notice. Access to Magistrates’ offices for questions or approvals remains closed at this time. This may require some documents to be left for review prior to filing.  As Probate and Family law matters involve complex issues, we suggest contacting an attorney if you have any questions or concerns regarding your individual situation as to protect your legal rights. Visit our website at www.probatect.org to attain necessary Court Forms, Court Records, make payments through our Cashier’s Office as well as see our online, fax and mail-in filing options. 

Our Mental Health Department will begin to accept in-person affidavits for someone you feel may need to be evaluated or admitted for mental illness or you may call UC Mobile Crisis at (513) 584-5098.

The Marriage License Department will begin to accept in-person applications and provide same day service while adhering to social distancing requirements. Anyone previously submitting their application by mail and have scheduled an appointment will be given priority at this time. ONLY the two applicants will be permitted into the Marriage License Department due to social distancing requirements. Applicants who have previously been married should obtain their most recent certified divorce or dissolution decree from the court in which it was granted before visiting the Marriage License Department. Without it, your license cannot be completed. Applicants may return to using payment methods of Cash or Credit Card as previously listed on our website. All marriage license returns must be mailed to the Marriage License Department; no returns will be accepted in person at this time.

If in doubt about where you need to go to conduct Court business, or if you have any questions, please call 1-513-946-3570 between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM M-F.

Due to the fluidity of the public health crisis, the Court will continue to monitor any releases or directives from relevant agencies and may modify accordingly the operating procedures set forth herein.  Please monitor the Court's website for any new information.
Once again, thank you for your assistance and understanding as we continue to serve the public during this difficult time.

Judge Ralph Winkler
Beginning 5/12/2020 all visitors to the Hamilton County Probate Court will be required to wear face coverings. Face coverings must fit snugly but comfortably and allow for breathing without restriction. They should be worn horizontally, covering nose, mouth, and chin at all times, and secure behind the head with ties or ear loops. Face coverings are required for people who can safely wear them. Some individuals cannot wear face coverings safely. Examples of this would be individuals who have severe asthma or breathing issues, hearing aids, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, or claustrophobia. In addition, face coverings should NEVER be worn by or placed on people who are younger than 2, have difficulty breathing, or are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove them without assistance.
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