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Appellants asserted claims for child support arrearages against debtor. Although debtor filed for bankruptcy, appellants claimed that they never received notice of debtor's bankruptcy case. Therefore, appellants argued that they were denied the opportunity to timely file proofs of claim. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision affirming the bankruptcy court's finding that the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, from which appellants had sought child support enforcement services, had received timely notice and ultimately afforded their claims distribution status under 11 U.S.C. 726(a)(2). In this case, the Department was properly the creditor for the purposes of debtor's child support obligations and the Department's proofs of claim were untimely. View "Pate v. Tow" on Justia Law

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The County of San Diego Department of Child Support Services (the Department) challenged an order denying its request for establishment of child support against C.A. (Mother), for her daughter J.H. J.H. lived in Maryland with her paternal grandmother, who had sole legal and physical custody. The Department contended the court's denial incorrectly applied California Family Code section 3951(a) which eliminated a parent's obligation to pay child support when a relative voluntarily voluntarily supported the parent's child and there was no compensation agreement between the parties. The Department contended the grandmother's custody status in this case was not "voluntary" as that term was used in the statute. The Court of Appeal agreed with the Department and vacated the order. View "County of San Diego Dept. of Child Support Services v. C.A." on Justia Law

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A wife sought a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) against her husband for violating the temporary restraining order (TRO) a trial court had issued against the husband eight months earlier. The court denied the DVRO on the ground that a technical violation of a TRO was not an act of domestic violence. In reversing the trial court, the Court of Appeal found that under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, abuse included behaviors that were enjoined by a TRO, and was not limited to acts inflicting physical injury, thus making the wife’s assertion her husband’s specific acts entitled her to a DVRO. The Court remanded the case for the trial court to make necessary findings regarding whether the acts alleged by the wife actually occurred and, if they did, the court was mandated to enter the DVRO as requested. View "N.T. v. H.T." on Justia Law

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The Coalition filed suit on behalf of its foster parent members, alleging that the State pays foster parents members inadequate rates to cover the costs of caring for their foster children, in violation of the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's finding that the Coalition has standing to sue on behalf of its members under Nnebe v. Daus, 644 10 F.3d 147 (2d Cir. 2011) and rejected the State's argument that the Coalition was barred by the third‐party standing rule. However, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of the Coalition's claims and joined the Sixth and Ninth Circuits in holding that the Act creates a specific entitlement for foster parents to receive foster care maintenance payments, and that this entitlement was enforceable through 42 U.S.C. 1983. Accordingly, the court vacated the order dismissing the case and remanded for further proceedings. View "New York State Citizens' Coalition for Children v. Poole" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed a decree dissolving Sharon Leners' marriage to Stacy Leners, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding Stacy his entire pension in equitably dividing the marital estate and that the court's determinations regarding custody, parenting time, child expenses, and attorney fees were not an abuse of discretion. On appeal, Sharon argued that the court erred in interpreting federal law regarding retirement benefits that may be available for equitable distribution, awarding joint custody and equal parenting time, failing to allocate child expenses, and awarding attorney fees to Stacy. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court did not abuse its discretion in (1) awarding Stacy his railroad pension, (2) ordering shared custody and parenting time, (3) addressing reasonable and necessary child expenses, and (4) awarding attorney fees. View "Leners v. Leners" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying Mother's petition to terminate the guardianship of her two minor children, holding that the circuit court erred in finding that it remained in the best interest of the children to leave the guardianship intact. The children's paternal grandparents filed a petition for emergency and permanent guardianship of the children after Mother's husband was charged with the sexual abuse of the older child. The circuit court granted the grandparents a permanent guardianship, finding that it was in the best interest of both children for the guardianship to be granted. Mother later filed a petition to terminate the guardianship due to a material change in circumstances. The circuit court denied the petition. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a fit parent who did not consent to a guardianship must be afforded a natural parent's constitutional right to raise her child without undue interference from the government; (2) Mother was entitled to the fit-parent presumption that the guardianship was no longer necessary when she filed her petition to terminate the guardianship; and (3) the presumption that Mother acted in her children's best interest was not rebutted on the record. View "Hartman v. Reardon" 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 two children pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a), (B)(2)(a)-(b)(i), (iv), holding that the district court did not commit clear error in terminating Mother's parental rights. Specifically, the Court held (1) the evidence admitted at the termination hearing was sufficient to support the court's unfitness finding; (2) the court's best interest findings did not constitute factual errors or an abuse of discretion because, contrary to Mother's argument, the court's findings were not predicated solely on an assumption that the grandmother would adopt the children; and (3) the procedural interaction between the probate court and the district court did not deprive Mother of due process. View "In re Children of Bethmarie R." on Justia Law

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In this custody dispute, the Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals reversing the circuit court's finding that Appellant qualified as the child's de facto custodian under Ky. Rev. Stat. 403.270, holding that Appellant did not qualify as the child's de facto custodian and lacked standing to assert custodial rights. The circuit court granted temporary custody of the child to Appellant and Dixie Meinders. Later, it was discovered that Keith Middleton was the child's biological father. Keith moved to transfer custody and later filed a civil action seeking custody of the child. Appellant was granted custody. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that Appellant did not qualify for de facto custodian status. The Supreme Court held (1) the time period required for de facto custodian status under section 403.270 must be continuous, rather than aggregated; (2) any active participation by a parent in a custody proceeding evincing a desire to regain custody is sufficient to toll the requisite de facto custodian time period under section 403.270; (3) neither Appellant nor Dixie qualified as the child's de facto custodian, and both lacked standing to assert custodial rights; and (4) custody should be placed with Keith where the mother agreed that sole custody be placed with him. View "Meinders v. Middleton" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court granting the Oglala Sioux Tribe's motion to transfer jurisdiction of an abuse and neglect proceeding to tribal court, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion when it granted the Tribe's motion to transfer without hearing the testimony of the child's physician. After the child in this case was born, the State alleged that the child was abused or neglected. At the outset of what was to have been the final disposition hearing, the Tribe orally moved to transfer the abuse and neglect case to tribal court. The circuit court ultimately granted the Tribe's motion to transfer. The child's counsel appealed, challenging the circuit court's order transferring jurisdiction to tribal court. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court abused its discretion when it granted the Tribe's motion to transfer without hearing the testimony of the child's physician, who was present in the courtroom. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings to determine the Tribe's motion for transfer anew. View "In re Interest of E.T." 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 child pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(b)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii), holding that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion by concluding that termination of Father's parental rights was in the best interest of the child. After a hearing, the court found that Father was parentally unfit because he was neither able to protect the child from jeopardy nor able to take responsibility for the child and would be unable to do ether within a time reasonably calculated to meet the child's needs. The court also determined that termination was in the child's best interest. Father appealed, challenging only the court's best interest determination. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by determining that termination Father's parental rights was necessary so that the child could be placed in a stable and permanent setting. View "In re Child of Peter T." on Justia Law