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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her two children, holding that the district court erred when it proceeded with termination of Mother’s parental rights before it had a conclusive determination of the children’s status in the Chippewa Cree Tribe and when it did not address whether the Department of Public Health and Human Services made “active efforts” to prevent the breakup of the Indian family and that those efforts were unsuccessful. Specifically, the Court held (1) where the district court had reason to believe that the children may be eligible for enrollment in the Chippewa Cree Tribe, the court failed to satisfy the threshold requirement of the Indian Child Welfare Act to verify the children’s eligibility; (2) the district court did not err when it did not address whether the Department provided “active efforts” pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 1912(d); and (3) Mother’s due process were not violated when the Department raised the issue of abandonment during closing arguments at the termination hearing and Mother’s counsel did not object. View "In re L.A.G." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice of the Court denying Petitioner’s petition pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse his discretion in denying relief. In his petition, Petitioner sought relief from an original divorce judgment as well as a modification to that judgment. The single justice denied the petition without a hearing. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) to the extent that Petitioner continued to seek a stay to prevent his former wife’s trip to India with the parties’ children, the issue was now moot; and (2) to the extent Petitioner sought to preclude any and all future travel by seeking relief from the divorce judgment and the ensuing modification, Petitioner’s remedy did not lie with this Court. View "Panda v. Panda" on Justia Law

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This appeal arises from the juvenile court's selection of a tribal customary adoption as the permanent plan for minors A.S. and E.S. and the corresponding award of full faith and credit to the tribal customary adoption order. C.S. (Father) and T.F. (Mother) appeal the court's orders, contending that their due process rights were violated by the failure of the tribe to consider evidence from the parents in developing a tribal customary adoption order and by the court's exclusion of evidence at the Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26 hearing. The Court of Appeal found the trial court stated it had reviewed the reports that it had received and had considered the testimony and arguments of the parties before arriving at a decision. The trial court noted that the parents had received more than 44 months of services and that neither parent had adequately addressed the protective issues raised by the case. The court found that A.S. and E.S. were specifically and generally adoptable Indian children and that the social worker had consulted with the Tribe, which had elected a permanent plan of tribal customary adoption for the children. The court received the Tribe's Tribal Customary Adoption Order and afforded it full faith and credit. Mother and Father separately appealed these orders from the section 366.26 hearing on various grounds. Finding no reason to disturb the trial court's orders, the Court of Appeal affirmed the orders in their entirety. View "In re A.S." on Justia Law

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R.B. (father) and D.R. (mother) were citizens of India who were married in India. They came to California, where they had their only child, a daughter, born in October 2013. In December 2016, the father allegedly slapped the child and hit the mother. In February 2017, the mother discovered that the father was involved with another woman. She immediately left for India with the child. In 2017, the mother obtained a restraining order in India giving her sole custody of the child. Shortly thereafter, the father obtained an ex parte order (later stayed) in California giving him sole custody of the child. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court ruled that it had jurisdiction, but that India was a more appropriate forum. It therefore stayed the California proceeding. The father appealed, contending the trial court erred by finding that India was a more appropriate forum, because: (1) India did not have concurrent jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA); and (2) the trial court misevaluated the statutorily relevant factors. In the published portion of its opinion, the California Court of Appeal held India could be an inconvenient forum even if it did not have concurrent jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. In the nonpublished portion, the Court found no other error. Hence, the Court affirmed. View "R.B. v. D.R." on Justia Law

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Mother and Father appealed the juvenile court's order terminating their parental rights to their children. The Court of Appeal held that the juvenile court had jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) after a Nevada juvenile court declined to exercise jurisdiction. The court conditionally reversed and remanded, holding that the investigation required by the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was not complete. In this case, HSA conceded that it had not substantially complied with the ICWA notice requirements, the order terminating parental rights should be vacated, and reversal was required to determine the applicability of the ICWA. View "In re E.R." on Justia Law

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A mother appealed the termination of her parental rights to her son, an Indian child. She argued the trial court violated the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) by finding that the Office of Children’s Services (OCS) made active efforts and that her continued custody of her son was likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to him. She also argued that the trial court’s latter finding was not supported by the testimony of a qualified expert as required by ICWA. After review, the Alaska Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s order terminating her parental rights because its findings satisfied ICWA’s requirements. View "Demetria H. v. Alaska, Dept. of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's Services" on Justia Law

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In this appeal from a district court’s order terminating a natural father’s parental rights, the Supreme Court reversed the rulings of the lower courts and remanded to the district court with directions to conduct proceedings effectuating a change in custody consistent with this opinion, holding that no rational fact-finder could have found it highly probable that Father made no reasonable effort to support or communicate with the child after having knowledge of the child’s birth. When Father’s child was born, Mother put the newborn up for adoption. Father only learned of both the pregnancy and birth four days before the prospective adoptive parents filed for termination of Father’s parental rights. With no knowledge about the adoption action, Father filed a petition to establish paternity. The district court ultimately terminated Father’s parental rights. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the lower courts erred by failing to focus on all the circumstances when determining whether clear and convincing evidence demonstrated that Father made “no reasonable efforts” to support or communicate with his child after knowledge of his birth. View "In re Adoption of C.L. video" on Justia Law

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In this dispute over the parentage of a child, the Supreme Court held that both the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) and Hawaii’s Marriage Equality Act demonstrate that the UPA’s marital presumption of paternity applies equally to both men and women and that Appellant did not rebut the presumption of parentage. LC sought a divorce from her wife, MG shortly after a child was born to MG through an artificial insemination procedure. LC and MG were legally married at the time of the child’s birth, but LC was not biologically related to the child. After the child’s birth, LC sought an order seeking to disestablish parentage. The family court denied the request, determining that LC was the child’s legal parent. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that LC was presumed to be the legal mother of the child and that LC did not rebut the presumption of parentage. View "LC v. MG " on Justia Law

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This matter involved two unrelated juveniles, E.H. and S.K.-P. in unrelated dependency proceedings. R.R., E.H.;s mother, and S.K.-P. both challenged the validity of RCW 13.34.100's discretionary standard for appointment of counsel for children in dependency proceedings, and sought instead a categorical right to counsel for all children in dependency proceedings. The Washington Supreme Court consolidate these cases to address that issue. The Supreme Court determined RCW 13.34.100(7)(a) was adequate under the Washington Constitution, and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying a motion to appoint counsel. In light of GR 15, the Supreme Court held confidential juvenile court records remain sealed and confidential on appeal, and granted a joint motion to seal records in these matters. View "In re Dependency of E.H." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Mother’s minor child was in jeopardy pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4035, holding that there was competent evidence in the record to support the court’s determination that the child was in circumstances of jeopardy. Specifically, the Court held (1) there was competent evidence to support the court’s finding that the jeopardy Mother presented to the child was prospective and not just historical; and (2) there was evidence that poor management of the child’s diabetes had bene a chronic problem and that Mother continued to expect the child to manage his diabetes without adequate supervision or assistance. View "In re Child of Angela H." on Justia Law