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Franklin County Clerk of Courts 2023 Annual Report

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Franklin County Clerk of Courts Vision and Mission Statement
  • Enhance customer service
  • Invest in our employees' growth and well-being
  • Use the latest technological advances

A Message from the ClerkClerk's Message

Maryellen O'Shaughnessy

Franklin County Residents,
I am Maryellen O’Shaughnessy, your elected Franklin County Clerk of the Common Pleas and 10th District Appeals courts. We present to you our 2023 Annual Report. I hope that you will find this report to be a valuable and informative tool that represents our accomplishments from the past year.

As we learn and grow with new technologies to better serve you, we never shy away from our goal of providing accurate, courteous, and timely service in the management of court documents and the issuance of auto titles.

Thank you for taking the time to read this recap of our work in 2022. We always aim to provide exceptional service.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 614-525-3600 or email [email protected]

Maryellen O'Shaughnessy
Maryellen O’Shaughnessy
Franklin County Clerk of Courts v

About the Clerk

Clerk O’Shaughnessy and her son, Colin

Clerk O’Shaughnessy and her son, Colin.

Maryellen O'Shaughnessy began her term as Franklin County Clerk of Courts in January 2009. Prior to serving as Clerk, O'Shaughnessy was elected three times as a Columbus City Council Member, representing the 15th largest city in the nation. She was committed to providing excellent services, listening to neighborhood concerns, and providing the resources necessary to keep her community thriving. She served as chair of the Public Service and Transportation, Utilities, and Development committees, working for sustainable development and growth practices, complete streets policies and balanced transportation systems, and the redevelopment of Downtown Columbus and its core neighborhoods.


Clerk O’Shaughnessy and her husband, Tim Feran

Clerk O’Shaughnessy and her husband, Tim Feran.

Clerk O'Shaughnessy is a fifth-generation Central Ohioan and comes from a family dedicated to public service. She is also a fourth-generation funeral director and owner of O’Shaughnessy Company Funeral Directors, established in 1889. A graduate of Bishop Watterson High School and The Ohio State University, O’Shaughnessy is an active volunteer in her church and parish and is past recipient of the Diocesan Service Award.


Clerk O’Shaughnessy is also involved in the Ohio Clerk of Courts Association and the Ohio Funeral Directors Association, sitting on their legislative committees. She was on the boards of the Columbus Historical Society, the Greenways Working Group of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, and serves as Vice President of Columbus Outdoor Pursuits.

About the Office

Since Ohio became a state in 1803, judicial systems required each county to have a clerk of courts who was tasked to preserve records for future generations. In the interest of justice, it is important for clerk offices to remain independent from the judges they serve. This separation prevents even the appearance of judicial bias. The Franklin County Clerk of Courts is an elected official. Clerk O’Shaughnessy is currently serving in her fourth four-year term.

Clerk O’Shaughnessy speaking to the South East Area Commission

Clerk O’Shaughnessy speaking to the Franklinton Area Commission.

In the Franklin County Clerk of Courts’ Office, approximately 200 full-time Deputy Clerks serve in five divisions: Auto Title, Legal, Fiscal Services, Information Technology, and Administration. Four of those divisions are in seven different offices in the Franklin County Courthouse complex. The fifth, Auto Title, is in four conveniently located branch offices throughout Franklin County. Each division is important to the Franklin County Clerk of Courts’ two major functions: management of court documents and issuance of auto titles.

Our Legal Division Deputy Clerks are responsible for receiving, receipting, managing, and retaining all legal documents filed through the Court of Common Pleas and the 10th District Court of Appeals.

Our Deputy Clerks execute their responsibilities in strict accordance with the record retention requirements established by Ohio law.

In 2022, the Legal Division filed 137,568 new cases in the Court of Common Pleas and 10th District Court of Appeals, down from 146,290 in 2021. Since the full implementation of e-Filing in 2012, our processing times have reduced from an average of three business days to one business day, with most filings processed in less than four business hours.

Our Auto Title Division Deputy Clerks manage titling which provides proof of vehicle ownership, with strict adherence to Ohio laws and rules. In 2022, our Auto Title Division processed 496,389 auto titles, down from 561,881 in 2021, with an average wait time of below seven minutes. Since 2009, our busy Auto Title branches generated more than $10 million in funds that have been given to the County General Fund to help the Franklin County Commissioners continue to provide essential services to our residents.

Organizational Chart

Franklin County Clerk of Courts Organizational Chart

Auto Title Division

The Clerk’s Auto Title Division is comprised of four branch locations. The Auto Title Division processes titles for motor vehicles, watercraft, motorcycles, manufactured homes, and campers. Whether you are buying or selling a motor vehicle, our Auto Title Division is there to grant the proof of ownership required by state law.

Notable Successes and/or Innovative Programs

Title issuance in the State of Ohio was down 11% in 2022 due in large part to manufacturing and supply chain issues. In addition, the increased price of cars and increased interest rates have also cut many customers out of the market for vehicles. Despite these very real issues Franklin County Auto Title has maintained its commitment to getting titles into the hands of our customers. While we did not reach our title issuance goal, we are confident in our flexibility to respond to changing economic environments and continue to provide excellent service to the citizens of Central Ohio.

  • We processed nearly 500,000 titles in 2022.
  • Average turnaround time for dealer work dropped off at Auto Title branches was well under the goal of four hours for the entire year with a yearly average under three hours.
  • Average customer wait time was seven minutes or less for the entire year with a yearly average of five and one-half minutes; under 15 minutes is the goal.

In addition to our yearly statistical goals, we had success with several projects in 2022.

  • We continued to offer a safe environment for our customers and staff.
  • Despite a long-term single branch closure in 2022, we were able to maintain service for our customers in our other locations.
  • We continue to provide service by appointment with the ability for customers to go online and schedule an appointment or call our customer service staff for assistance.
  • We launched the updated Dealer Portal and “Auto Title Now!” mobile app in 2022 which enable access to appointments, fillable forms, a link to check vehicle VINs via scanning of VIN QR codes or entering the 17 characters, and many FAQs to assist with the titling process.
  • The Bureau of Motor Vehicles “Ohio Title Portal” launched in July 2022. Our offices have assisted numerous citizens with electronic title transactions. The BMV will be launching an education campaign this year to expand knowledge and understanding of the online title process. We are prepared to absorb any increase in “Ohio Title Portal” usage.
  • All staff completed Comprehensive Fraud training through BMV Investigations.
  • Auto Title published a "Quick Reference" online document which will help our staff easily access quick answers to many questions. The continuing goal is to reduce transaction time for our customer’s convenience.

Goals for 2023

Our overall goal never changes. We seek to provide Accurate, Courteous, and Timely service to the citizens of Franklin County and all citizens of neighboring counties who come into our offices. To that end:

  • Ensure the safety and well-being of both staff and general public.
  • We will continue our campaign of training and retraining to provide the most value to our customers.
  • All Auto Title Staff are completing the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office C.R.A.S.E. (Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events) training.
  • An upgrade to our sign-in kiosks in our branches will allow us to explore options to increase access for our customers.
  • Our tutorial entitled “Your Ohio Certificate of Title” has been added to the Clerk of Courts Auto Title Website as a PDF but will debut as a web page this year. This tool walks customers through the Ohio Title section by section with explanations and tips to help make the process more understandable.
  • We will be launching a new “Dealer Support” phone line for business customers.
  • We will continue to seek improvements and upgrades with our Lobby Central online appointment application in order to increase ease of use and access to our services.

Online Appointment Scheduling Made Possible with Lobby Central

To schedule your next visit, please visit or by calling our Auto Title Dedicated Help Line at 614.525.3090.

Auto Title Lobby Central

The Franklin County Clerk of Courts Title Division issues four main types of titles.

  • Original: Issued to a new owner for the first time.
  • Replacement: Issued when the current original title contains a discrepancy, is defaced in such a way that the title becomes invalid or when the title requires an update without a transfer of ownership.
  • Duplicate: Issued when the current title has been lost, stolen, or destroyed. No transfer of ownership occurs.
  • Salvage: Issued when the vehicle has been wrecked beyond repair ("totaled") or when law enforcement takes ownership of an abandoned vehicle.
Title Transaction Type

Auto Title NOW App

Accessing the Clerk’s Auto Title Division could not be easier. Download the official Franklin County Clerk of Courts’ Auto Title NOW App to access legal documents, navigate to the closest branch, search titles, schedule an appointment, or simply check fees to assist with an accurate transaction. Download Auto Title NOW, today!

Auto Title NOW! Phone App
  • Navigate to the nearest Auto Title branch or BMV
  • Obtain fillable legal documents
  • Schedule your next visit
Google Auto Title NOW! Google Barcode


Apple Auto Title NOW! Apple Barcode

Legal Divisions

Our Legal Division consists of four offices: Appeals, General (Civil/Criminal), Domestic Relations, and Juvenile. The Legal Division is comprised of approximately 100 Deputy Clerks who manage the documents for each of these courts in Franklin County.


The 10th District Court of Appeals, located on the 24th floor of the County Administration Building, handles cases appealed from the Court of Common Pleas, Municipal Court, Environmental Court, and Court of Claims. We manage their documents in our office on the 23rd floor.

General (Civil/Criminal)

The General Division of the Common Pleas Court, located in the new Courthouse at 345 South High Street, hears felony criminal cases and civil cases in which damages claimed or the amount in contention exceeds $15,000. We manage civil and criminal documents in our offices on the 1st floor. In addition, the Clerk’s General Division is an authorized U.S. Department of State Passport Acceptance Agent. A Deputy Clerk reviews the completed application, takes the passport photo, and forwards all documents and payments to the U.S. Department of State.

Domestic Relations and Juvenile

The Domestic Relations and Juvenile Division of the Common Pleas Court is in the Franklin County Office Tower, 373 South High Street. The court handles family law cases including divorce, dissolution, legal separation, child custody, and child support, as well as juvenile traffic cases, delinquency, truancy, and abuse or neglect of dependency of a minor. The Clerk’s Domestic and Juvenile Divisions are located on the 4th floor and Juvenile Traffic is located on the 1st floor of 399 South Front Street.

Appeals Division General (Civil/Criminal) Division Domestic Relations Division Juvenile Division Juvenile Traffic Division

New Cases by Division

Annually, our Office processes over 100,000 new cases. Whether there is a civil dispute, criminal charge, or an appeal, our Legal Divisions maintain the records. As you can see, civil cases consistently lead with the most number of new cases followed by juvenile cases.

Cases By Division

Types of Felony Cases

In 2022, our Office processed 14,324 new felony criminal charges, up from 12,487 in 2021. When taking a deeper dive into the degree of felony criminal cases, we see a decline in the overall number of cases as the degree increases in severity. Misdemeanor criminal offenses are not handled by our Office but by the Franklin County Municipal Clerk of Court.

Types of Felony Charges

Protection Orders

Civil Stalking Protection Order (CSPO): For two or more incidents in which the respondent caused you to believe that you are in danger or one sexually oriented offense.

Domestic Civil Protection Order (CPO): For those related by blood or marriage, have a child in common, dating, or have lived together within the last five years as a spouse. There does not need to be a current criminal case. This order lasts up to five years.

Protection Orders By Division

Applying for a Protection Order

Civil Stalking Protection Order
Franklin County Court of Common Pleas
345 South High Street, 2nd Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Domestic Civil and Juvenile Protection Order
Franklin County Administration Building
373 South High Street, 6th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

For additional information, contact the Capital University Family Advocacy Clinic at 614.236.6779. Legal representation may be available at the Family Advocacy Clinic, Domestic Violence Unit, located at 375 South High Street, 17th Floor.

Divorces and Dissolutions

The number of divorces and dissolutions in Franklin County slightly decreased. In 2022, our Office processed 3,893 new divorce and dissolution cases, which is down from 4,241 in 2021.

Divorces and Dissolutions

Judgment Liens

The number of judgment liens in 2022 slightly decreased to 97,585 from 107,094 in 2021. Lien satisfactions are handled by our General Division located at 345 South High Street.

Judgment Liens

Foreclosure Cases

The number of foreclosure cases increased in 2022.
*Evictions are not handled by our Office but by the Franklin County Municipal Clerk of Court.


Electronic Filing (e-Filing)

Since the implementation of e-Filing in 2012, our processing times have been reduced from an average of three business days to one business day, with most filings processed in under four hours. e-Filing is available 24/7, which has enhanced convenience and expediency. The total number of e-Filings increased from 693,634 filings in 2021 to 711,517 filings in 2022.

e-Filing By Division

One-Stop-Passport-Shop Revenue

The One-Stop-Passport-Shop reopened in January 2021 and has surpassed pre-pandemic numbers.

One Stop Passport Shop Revenue

Office of Fiscal Services

The Office of Fiscal Services collects and disburses court-related and public funds in strict accordance with Ohio law. The Office of Fiscal Services maintains our financial infrastructure and provides an independent, objective oversight of all monetary transactions. Primary duties include budget management, cash management, centralized accounting, auditing, and financial policy oversight.

The Office of Fiscal Services audits the financial activity of each division and validates the timeliness, accuracy, and integrity of receipts. The Office of Fiscal Services provides the Clerk’s Office and the general public comprehensive financial documentation and reports.

The Franklin County Clerk of Courts’ 2023 approved budget is $25,492,675 up from $23,147,910 in 2022. (Source: Franklin County Office of Budget Management).

Clerk of Courts Approved Budget


Clerk of Court's Total Budget

Information Technology

The Information Technology Division provides support and innovative solutions to meet the technical needs of the Clerk’s customers and the other four divisions. Every records request, visit to our website, Auto Title transaction, and phone call is tracked and analyzed to increase efficiency. Information Technology aims to ensure the Clerk’s systems are functioning for staff and public use while continuing to evolve as new potential cyber security vulnerabilities are identified.

Public Records Request By Type

Electronic Document Enhancements

In an effort to support our judicial partners, the Information Technology Division developed a software process to load PDF forms with hearing information from our case management database. Having the PDF forms pre-loaded with information allows remote hearings to continue with more efficiency and accuracy.

Automatic Scheduling for Court Hearings

Information Technology worked with a third-party vendor and the Data Center to update Franklin County Justice System and e-Flex to allow court dates to be auto scheduled in a timetable as prescribed by the court. This prevents the possibility of multiple courtroom bookings for a single timeslot.

Civil Protection Orders

Information Technology implemented the ability for Domestic Relations court staff to e-File Civil Protection Orders which has reduced the number of individuals that physically touch paperwork.

Case Management System

Video ArraignmentThe Clerk’s Information Technology Division along with other county agencies are working to modernize our Case Management System. The purpose of the new system is to create an integrated, secure case management system that provides reliable, efficient, and accurate results to the public. This will bring 21st century technologies to the Clerk’s Office and increase the people’s access to justice.
Expected benefits are:

  • Enhanced reporting capabilities, including faster turnaround for custom reports
  • Real-time data exchange with other county systems
  • Preserves technical functionality, while increasing efficiencies
  • Provides a more robust security model to combat cyber threats
  • Introduces cloud hosting to help shorten disaster recovery
  • Seamless data integration with other county justice partners
  • Integration with e-Filing without impacting user-functionality

The Case Management System project has been made possible by the collaborative efforts of Clerk Maryellen O’Shaughnessy and her partners on the e-Governance Board.

Franklin County Court Case Management System Modernization Project High Level Project Phases


Administration consists of Communications, Legal Compliance, Human Resources and Training, and the Clerk’s Chief of Staff. This Division provides guidance and support to all other divisions.

Communications represents the Office to the press, public, and other agencies. They develop communication strategies to connect constituencies with the services we provide.

Legal Compliance ensures the Clerk, her Deputy Clerks, and all communications are in legal accordance with Ohio law. They also provide procedural and ethical standards for the Office, and ensures the importance of providing legal information as opposed to legal advice. Compliance also oversees the accessibility and fulfillment of public records requests.

Clerk Covid VaccinationHuman Resources and Training administers hiring, training, benefits, payroll, labor relations, performance management, and strategic planning. In 2022, the Office enhanced its support for staff by expanding Paid Family Leave to eight weeks. The Office of HR and Training successfully negotiated a three-year contract with AFSCME Ohio Council 8 to support our bargaining members. The Office completed a compensation study through an outside consultant and implemented across the board pay increases, longevity adjustments, and higher starting wages for each pay grade to meet the demands of the changing employment market.

Goals for 2023

In 2023, Human Resources and Training will continue to expand on numerous projects, including:

  • Educational opportunities to continually elevate the professionalism of our staff
  • Benefit opportunities like remote exercise classes, televisits with medical professionals including mental health management, and family forming benefits including fertility support
  • Hiring events
  • Virtual interview options through Zoom and Microsoft Teams
  • HRIS implementation
  • Green initiatives to reduce paper usage

Administration works closely with Deputy Clerks to address their needs and strives to create a safe and respectful work environment. The Clerk’s administrative office is in the County Administration Building, 373 South High Street on the 23rd floor.

In 2023, Clerk Maryellen O’Shaughnessy, in her 14th year as your Franklin County Clerk of Courts, remains committed to the people she serves and the service her Office provides. By continuing to enhance customer service, invest in the growth and well-being of our Deputy Clerks and by using the latest technological advances, she works to be the leader of the best County Clerk’s office in Ohio.


Combatting the Opioid Epidemic

In partnership with Franklin County Public Health, the Franklin County Clerk of Courts’ offices are now supplied with Narcan that can be administered by trained staff. Although we do not expect an overdose to ever take place in our offices, we are be prepared for such an event.

Clerk Star

Human Resources and Training Clerk Star Curriculum is delivered virtually to encourage professional development in the workplace.

Curriculum includes:

  • Bullying in the Workplace & Conflict Resolution
  • Implicit Bias - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Customer Service with Impact
  • Anti-Sexual Harassment

C.R.A.S.E. (Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events)

The C.R.A.S.E. course is conducted by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and is designed and built on the Avoid, Deny, and Defend strategy developed by ALERRT in 2004. This course provides strategies, guidance, and a proven plan for surviving an active shooter event.

Ethics Training

Human Resources and Training also delivered the Office’s Annual Ethics Training virtually. The purpose of this training is to ensure public officials and employees do not misuse their official positions for their own personal benefit or for the benefit of their family members or business associates.

Legal Advice Vs. Legal Information

Sharlene Chance, Director of Legal Compliance, conducts annual training to differentiate legal advice versus legal information for Deputy Clerks. The Clerk and her Deputies are prohibited by law from providing legal advice.

Supervisor Bootcamp

Five-week program, one-hour weekly virtual group training session with supervisors conducted by Ellen French, Director of HR & Training, and Caitlin Graessle, Director of Public Affairs and Workforce Development. Training topics include:

  • Developing Successful Performance Improvement Plans
  • Conducting Meaningful Performance Evaluations
  • Difficult Conversations, Positive Outcomes
  • Understanding Progressive Discipline
  • Stock Your Toolbox


All employees are to complete KnowBe4 Security Awareness Training to help manage the IT security problems of social engineering, spear phishing and ransomware attacks which are at an all-time high.

Toys for Tots

Our Deputy Clerks joined together to donate toys to the local U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Campaign.

Combined Charitable Campaign

Our Deputy Clerks joined other Franklin County offices and agencies to support the Combined Charitable Campaign and the United Way of Central Ohio. Through payroll deductions and individual contributions, Deputy Clerks donated $9,517 to dozens of local charities.

One Stop Passport Shop

PassportThe Clerk’s General Division is an authorized U.S. Department of State (DOS) Passport Acceptance Agent. A Deputy Clerk reviews the completed application, takes the passport photo, and forwards the documents and payments to the U.S. Department of State.

The One-Stop-Passport-Shop is open weekdays 8:00 A.M. – 2:30 P.M. (Times may vary depending on the General Division’s hours of operations).345 South High Street

Need more of a reason to apply for your passport with the Franklin County Clerk of Courts’ Office? Cut this page along the dotted line and present it to one of our Deputy Clerks for a free passport photo.

Fees for the passports/cards are separate from the service/photo fees for the Clerk of Courts.

  • A check or money order is required for the passports/cards fee.
  • The Clerk of Courts on-site photo fees and service fees can be paid by check, MasterCard, Visa, or cash.
U.S. Department of State Passport Information
   Age 16 and over:  Age 15 and under: Accepted Payment Methods
 Passport Book*  Validity - 10 years Cost - $110  Validity - 5 years  Cost - $80 Check or Money Order payable to “U.S. Department of State
 Passport Card**  Validity - 10 years Cost - $30  Validity - 5 years  Cost - $15

Clerk of Court's Passport Fees
 Service Fee Per Application  On-site Photo  Accepted Payment Methods
 $35  $10  Cash, Major Credit Card, Check/Money Order payable to “Clerk of Courts”

*Passport Book is valid for travel anywhere.
**Passport Card is valid for land or sea travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.
The passport card cannot be used for international travel by air.

345 S High Street, 1st Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Open Weekdays 8:00 A.M. - 2:30 P.M. (not including holidays)
Groups of four or more are required to schedule an appointment by calling 614.525.3621.

What To Bring

  • Correct forms of payment
  • United States DOS Passport Application
  • Proof of Identification and Citizenship

Access the U.S. Department of State's website for information on renewing your passport by mail.

Before visiting the One-Stop Passport Shop, review all details related to the passport application and calculate the amount due to U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Passports and International Travel site.

Two Clerks of Court

Maryellen O’Shaughnessy – Franklin County Clerk of Courts
Clerk Maryellen O’Shaughnessy

Maintains the public record, receives and disburses payment for:

  • Criminal Felonies
  • Civil Lawsuits (damages $15,000 and over)
  • Divorces and Dissolutions
  • Juvenile Traffic Violations
  • Court of Appeals Cases
  • Motor Vehicles and Watercraft Titles
Clerk of Courts Logo
373 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Lori Tyack – Franklin County Municipal Clerk of Court
Clerk Lori Tyack

Maintains the public record, receives and disburses payment for:

  • Criminal Misdemeanors
  • Civil Lawsuits (damages under $15,000)
  • Small claims suits (damages under $6,000)
  • Adult Traffic Violations and License Suspensions
  • Rent Escrow
  • Environmental Hearings
  • Preliminary Felony Hearings
  • Evictions
Municipal Clerk of Court Logo
375 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Historical Index

Visit our web page for a historical index of the Franklin County Clerk Of Courts.

Join the Team!

“We are always searching for dedicated public servants to join our team.”
– Clerk Maryellen O’Shaughnessy
Premium Healthcare - Comprehensive medical, dental, vision, and prescription plans at a lower cost than state, national, and local competitor averages. Employee Assistance Program and new Family Forming Benefits including fertility support.

Convenient Commutes - Deputy Clerks are issued an unlimited free bus pass for all Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) routes.

Professional Development - Tuition reimbursement, Job-related coursework, Legal Advice vs. Legal Information, Ethics, Supervisor Bootcamp, and Clerk Star curriculum.

Competitive Salary - $18/hour minimum starting wage, retirement benefits, flexible spending account, deferred compensation, life insurance, bonuses for longevity, and annual wellness incentives.

Generous Paid Leave - 13 paid holidays, two weeks of vacation and three weeks of sick leave (accrued), eight weeks Paid Family Leave, FMLA, bereavement and other leave options.

Visit our application website to view the latest job postings:

Fee Schedules

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"My office is dedicated to providing Accurate, Courteous, and Timely service to the people of Franklin County."