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Free marriage license for Hamilton County couples whose license expired due to COVID-19


June 12, 2020

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Couples in Hamilton County whose marriage license expired due to the COVID-19 pandemic can get a new marriage license for free beginning Monday.

Judge Ralph Winkler of the Hamilton County Probate Court says that any couple who was issued a marriage license between Jan. 1 and May 31 can get a new one for free.

Hamilton County judge performs first in-person adoption since mid-March


May 26, 2020

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio — After months of online adoptions, the first in-person adoption since March 19 was held in a Hamilton County courtroom on Tuesday.

Judge Ralph Winkler of the Hamilton County Probate Court oversaw the adoption.

Kathie Fitzpatrick adopted Paityn Fitzpatrick, who got to join her new brother and two sisters to complete their "forever family."

Online Adoptions May Be Here to Stay

Spectrum News 1

May 23, 2020

CINCINNATI, Ohio — Four-year-old Thomas might be too young to know it yet, but he just made history. He’s one of the first group of kids in Hamilton County to officially be adopted on a secured site online.

“I’ll sign this final decree of adoption making what you’ve waited so long for official, so congratulations,” said Probate Judge Ralph Winkler.

“Woo-hoo!” his family yells out in excitement during the latest adoption hearing.

Hamilton County judge gives $100,000 back to county from his budget


May 21, 2020

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The Hamilton County coffers are getting a boost from a county judge.

Hamilton County Probate Judge Ralph Winkler returned $100,000 in payroll funds to the county's general fund. This is in addition to other cost-saving measures he's made to his budget.

Winkler says the county is in crisis and returning the money is the right thing to do.

Hamilton County's new probate magistrate is 1st Hispanic woman in role


March 27, 2020

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Attorney Berti Garcia Helmick made history this week when she was sworn in as the first Hispanic woman to serve as a magistrate on Hamilton County’s Probate Court.

Garcia Helmick has been an attorney for 25 years and has represented people with mental illness in the courts as a member of the county’s mental health panel.

“I’m very honored to be the first Hispanic magistrate, and we have a large Hispanic population here in Hamilton County,” Garcia Helmick said. “It’s important that someone on the other side of the bench can understand the pressures they’re going through.”

Step-grandpa quietly commits to becoming dad: 'I would die for them.'

Nov. 28, 2019

Nine-year-old Carter had his hair cut the day before. Close on the sides, a little longer on top. He and his new "forever" dad dressed alike: Black button-down shirts. Dark, sturdy blue jeans. Brown boots.

Caity, 5, wore a long, dusty-pink dress printed with white roses and her cowgirl boots, brown too but with pink stitching. Michael McQueen had fixed her long, brown hair just like always:

"I have my own concoction," the step-grandpa said. Leave-in conditioner, a touch of coconut oil and a few drops of olive oil in a spray bottle so that combing through what McQueen calls Caity's '"self-tangling hair" will be a tear-free task.

14 children find their forever homes on adoption day in Hamilton County


Nov 1, 2019



Lives were changed forever -- just in time for the holidays. On Friday, 14 children were adopted into eight families.


It was a chance to celebrate and put an official seal on something they already knew -- these kids have found their forever homes.

Treka Engleman adopted three children today, and it was obvious to see that they all share a very special bond. Engleman lost her mother when she was very young and knew she always wanted to be a mother.

13 children adopted during mass adoption ceremony in Hamilton County


Nov. 2, 2018



On Friday, more than a dozen local children now have forever homes.

This was the 12th annual mass adoption ceremony for Hamilton County Job and Family Services.

It was a packed house in Judge Ralph Winkler's courtroom as 13 children were permanently united with nine forever families.

Couple adopts 5 siblings to keep them together


Jul 27, 2017



A Cincinnati couple adopted five siblings Thursday in order to keep them together.

Will and Julie Rom expanded their family to a party of seven when they adopted William, 12; Truth, 9; Maryahana, 6; Keyora, 3 and KJ, 2 on Thursday.

The Roms have no children of their own, but they’ve been foster parents for a decade and they have fostered the siblings for the past three years.

Endorsement: Winkler for probate court

Oct. 22, 2014

This year’s high-profile race for Hamilton County Probate Court is – or should be – more than a popularity contest.

Better known for handling wills and marriage licenses, the court actually deals with some of society’s most intractable problems, including mental illness, drug and alcohol addiction, broken families and aging.

Each party has nominated one of its biggest family names – former Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken on the Democratic side and Common Pleas Judge Ralph Winkler on the Republican side – to replace Judge Jim Cissell, who’s too old to run again.

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