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Fourteen-year-old E.A. and her eleven-year old sister, M.A. (together minors or children) had been living in what the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (Agency) described as "deplorable" conditions. Minors, both United States citizens, were living with their parents in Tijuana in an abandoned home with no electricity, no potable water, and with cockroaches crawling near minors' bed. The children had not been to school for over a year. They looked anorexic because J.A. (Mother) and Z.A. (Father) (together parents) fed them only one meal a day. When ruling in dependency proceedings, "'the welfare of the minor is the paramount concern of the court.'" At the time of the dispositive hearing in this case, there was no evidence that the minors' living conditions had changed. However, misinterpreting Welfare and Institutions Code section 300(g), and misapplying Allen M. v. Superior Court (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 1069, the juvenile court dismissed the dependency petitions. The minors appealed. The Agency conceded court erred, but claimed the Court of Appeal should affirm because the errors were harmless. The Court of Appeal concluded the court's errors were prejudicial and, therefore, reversed with directions to deny the Agency's motion to dismiss the petitions. View "In re E.A." on Justia Law

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A trial court, after the abatement of a divorce action, may remedy a violation of the statutory injunction imposed by Tenn. Code Ann. 36-4-106(d)(2), which prohibits parties after a divorce complaint is served from changing the beneficiary on any life insurance policy that names either party as the beneficiary, by considering the equities of the parties. After suing Bryan Olson for divorce, Jessica Olson changed the beneficiary on her life insurance policy from Bryan to her mother, Rose Coleman. After Jessica died, Rose collected the life insurance benefits. Rose then sued Bryan for grandparent visitation. Bryan responded that he did not oppose visitation and countersued to recover the life insurance benefits. The trial court (1) awarded the insurance benefits to the Olsons’ child, finding that Jessica had intended to substitute the child as the beneficiary, and (2) awarded Rose grandparent visitation. The court of appeals (1) awarded Bryan the life insurance benefits based on Jessica’s violation of the statutory injunction, and (2) reversed the visitation award. The Supreme Court reversed in part and remanded, holding (1) the Olsons’ divorce action abated when Jessica died, and the statutory injunction Jessica violated became ineffective; and (2) Rose was not entitled to court-ordered grandparent visitation absent Bryan’s opposition to visitation. View "Coleman v. Olson" on Justia Law

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A trial court, after the abatement of a divorce action, may remedy a violation of the statutory injunction imposed by Tenn. Code Ann. 36-4-106(d)(2), which prohibits parties after a divorce complaint is served from changing the beneficiary on any life insurance policy that names either party as the beneficiary, by considering the equities of the parties. After suing Bryan Olson for divorce, Jessica Olson changed the beneficiary on her life insurance policy from Bryan to her mother, Rose Coleman. After Jessica died, Rose collected the life insurance benefits. Rose then sued Bryan for grandparent visitation. Bryan responded that he did not oppose visitation and countersued to recover the life insurance benefits. The trial court (1) awarded the insurance benefits to the Olsons’ child, finding that Jessica had intended to substitute the child as the beneficiary, and (2) awarded Rose grandparent visitation. The court of appeals (1) awarded Bryan the life insurance benefits based on Jessica’s violation of the statutory injunction, and (2) reversed the visitation award. The Supreme Court reversed in part and remanded, holding (1) the Olsons’ divorce action abated when Jessica died, and the statutory injunction Jessica violated became ineffective; and (2) Rose was not entitled to court-ordered grandparent visitation absent Bryan’s opposition to visitation. View "Coleman v. Olson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that Grandparents lacked standing to pursue a suit affecting the parent-child relationship (SAPCR) under Tex. Fam. Code 102.003(a)(9). Section 102.003(a)(9) confers standing to pursue a SAPCR on nonparents who have had “actual care, control, and possession of the child for at least six months.” The child at issue in this case lived in Grandparents’ home for the first twenty-three months of her life. During the last eight of those months, Grandparents were the child’s primary caretakers and providers. Grandparents filed a petition to modify a SAPCR order requesting conservatorship of the child. The trial court dismissed the petition, determining that Grandparents did not establish that they had “actual care” or “actual control” over the child for the six-month period preceding their petition filing. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Grandparents, having continuously engaged in a parent-like role on a day-to-day basis during the statutory time period, had standing to pursue a SAPCR under section 102.003(a)(9). View "In re H.S." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the trial court declining to award post-judgment interest pursuant to Ky. Rev. Stat. 360.040 in this action concerning a divorce judgment. Karen and James Samuel Doyle (Sam) were divorced in 1995. In 1998, the circuit court issued a judgment pertaining to reserved issues of child custody, support, and division of property. The judgment was silent as to interest. When Sam did make an equalization payment to Karen as ordered by circuit court, Karen filed a judgment lien against property owned by Sam, plus interest at the legal rate from 1998. In 2012, Sam moved to prohibit the collection of interest. The court granted the motion on the grounds that the 1998 judgment was unliquidated and the judgment was silent as to interest. Karen appealed, and the court of appeals reversed. On remand, the circuit court again denied an award of interest. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the balance of equities favored the statutory award of interest under the circumstances of this case. View "Doyle v. Doyle" on Justia Law

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C.T. and D.A. appealed a juvenile court order terminating C.T.'s parental rights to her minor daughter, C.A., and earlier orders finding the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) did not apply to C.A.'s presumed father, D.A., or C.A.'s biological father, D.R. The Court of Appeal rejected these challenges and affirmed the orders. View "In re C.A." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court concluding that Appellant did not have standing to pursue a claim for visitation rights with her grandchild pursuant to the Grandparents Visitation Act (GVA), Me. Rev. Stat. 19-A, 1801-1805. Appellant, the grandmother of the child at issue, filed a petition to establish grandparents’ rights pursuant to the GVA, seeking specific rights of visitation and/or primary physical residence of the child. The district court concluded that Appellant had not established standing because she failed to make a prima facie showing of de facto parentage as required under the GVA to proceed on her petition. On appeal, Appellant argued, inter alia, that the court erred in finding that she did not have standing to proceed as a putative de facto parent. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Appellant did not establish standing to proceed to a hearing on her petition pursuant to the GVA or the statutory requirements of a de facto parenthood claim. View "Lamkin v. Lamkin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Parents’ parental rights to their three children while also approving a permanency guardianship as a possible permanency plan. After Parents’ parental rights were terminated, they appealed. Parents did not contest the district court’s determination that they were unfit as the children’s parents but argued that the court erred by determining that termination was in the children’s best interests because the court also ordered a permanency plan that included either adoption or a permanency guardianship. In affirming, the Supreme Judicial Court held that, under the circumstances of this case, termination of Parents’ parental rights was not inconsistent with a permanency guardianship. View "In re Children of Nicole M." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the family court finding that Defendant and Plaintiff were married at common law, holding that the trial justice’s factual findings did not represent “a firm belief or conviction” that the parties seriously intended to enter into a mutual husband and wife relationship. Plaintiff filed for a divorce from Defendant. The family court found clear and convincing evidence that the parties were married at common law since 1995, concluding that Defendant’s testimony was largely incredible and Plaintiff’s testimony was mostly credible. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial justice misconceived the evidence in finding that Defendant and Plaintiff had a present and mutual intent to be married at common law. View "Luis v. Gaugler" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the judgment of the family court finding that Defendant and Plaintiff were married at common law, holding that the trial justice’s factual findings did not represent “a firm belief or conviction” that the parties seriously intended to enter into a mutual husband and wife relationship. Plaintiff filed for a divorce from Defendant. The family court found clear and convincing evidence that the parties were married at common law since 1995, concluding that Defendant’s testimony was largely incredible and Plaintiff’s testimony was mostly credible. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial justice misconceived the evidence in finding that Defendant and Plaintiff had a present and mutual intent to be married at common law. View "Luis v. Gaugler" on Justia Law