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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

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her child, holding that the record supported the finding of parental unfitness to the standard of clear and convincing evidence. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court’s factual findings were fully supported by the record; (2) the district court did not err in finding that Mother remained unable to protect the child from jeopardy or take responsibility for him within a time reasonably calculated to meet his needs; and (3) the court did not err or abuse its discretion in determining that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Child of T'Mara C." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Father’s parental rights to his two children, holding that the evidence supported the court’s findings and discretionary determinations. Specifically, the Court held (1) there was competent evidence in the record to support the trial court’s conclusion that Father was unable to protect his children from jeopardy and these circumstances were unlikely to change within a time reasonably calculated to meet the children’s needs and that Father was unwilling or unable to take responsibility for the children within a time reasonably calculated to meet the children’s needs; and (2) the evidence supported the court’s determination that termination of Father’s parental rights was in the children’s best interests. View "In re Children of Benjamin D." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding circumstances of jeopardy to Mother’s newborn child’s health and welfare pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4002(6)(A)-(B), 4035(2), holding that the record evidence supported the court’s finding and determination of jeopardy. Specifically, the Court held (1) contrary to Mother’s contentions on appeal, the district court’s findings as to Mother’s inability adequately to care for the child and to make safe decisions with regard to necessary health care were supported by competent evidence in the record; and (2) therefore, the district court did not err in finding that the child was in circumstances of jeopardy. View "In re Child of Tiffany F." on Justia Law