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After a Welfare and Institutions Code section 366.26 hearing, the parental rights for eight-year-old B.D. were terminated. The court approved a permanent plan of adoption and determined that the parents failed to meet their burden of establishing the applicability of the beneficial parental relationship exception. The parties stipulated to reversal, jointly recognizing that, following the termination of parental rights, “subsequent events [have] undermined the juvenile court’s finding that [Minor] was likely to be adopted.” Those events concerned injuries B.D. suffered in foster care and the criminal history of her foster father. The court of appeal reversed, holding that this is a “rare and compelling case … where post-judgment evidence stands to completely undermine the legal underpinnings of the juvenile court’s judgment under review, and all parties recognize as much. Rather than relying on the stipulation, the court decided the case on the merits, finding that the Contra Costa Children and Family Services Bureau violated section 366.22(c)(1)(D), by withholding from the court information material to the “preliminary assessment of the eligibility and commitment of any identified prospective adoptive parent or legal guardian, particularly the caretaker[.]” For B.D., who has joined her parents in requesting reversal, this breach rises to the level of a due process violation. View "In re B.D." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals' judgment denying Carol Fradette's petition for a writ of prohibition against Joseph Fradette and Judge Rosemary Grdina Gold and Magistrate Michelle Edwards of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Domestic Relations Division, holding that the court of appeals correctly denied the writ. In 1999, Carol and Joseph were divorced, and Carol was awarded spousal support. In 2017, Joseph filed a fourth motion to terminate or modify spousal support, which was scheduled for a hearing before Magistrate Edwards. Carol moved a motion to dismiss, which Judge Gold denied. In 2018, Carol filed this writ of prohibition arguing that Judge Gold exceeded her statutory authority by permitting Joseph to file multiple motions to terminate or modify spousal support. The court of appeals denied the writ. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Carol was not entitled to the writ. View "Fradette v. Gold" on Justia Law

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In this divorce matter, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals upholding the orders of the district court regarding child support and parent-time, holding that the court of appeals properly found that it had limited appellate jurisdiction over this matter and did not err in upholding the district court's orders regarding child support and parent-time. Mother filed for a divorce in 2010. The case dragged on for the better part of a decade. Before the Supreme Court, Father argued that the court of appeals (1) erred by construing his notice of appeal to limit the scope of the court of appeals' appellate jurisdiction, (2) erred in affirming the district court's order regarding his child support obligations, and (3) erred in affirming the district court's order denying his petition to modify the amended decree. The Supreme Court disagreed and affirmed, holding (1) Father's notice of appeal limited the scope of appellate jurisdiction; (2) the court of appeals correctly upheld the district court's order regarding child support; and (3) the court of appeals correctly rejected Father's arguments regarding his petition to modify. View "Pulham v. Kirsling" on Justia Law

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In this divorce case, the Supreme Court vacated a portion of the divorce decree providing for an order under Koelsch v. Koelsch, 148 Ariz. 176 (1986), holding that federal law does not permit a state court to order a military spouse to pay the equivalent of military retirement benefits to a former spouse if the military spouse continues to work past an eligible retirement date. When the parties divorced, Husband was still an active duty service member. The trial judge ordered Husband, if he chose to work beyond his retirement eligibility date, to begin making payments to Wife equivalent to what she would have received as her share of Husband's military retirement pay (MRP) had Husband retired. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that federal law precluded such indemnification. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that state courts cannot order service members to make MRP-based payments to former spouses before retirement. View "Barron v. Barron" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the district court dismissing Appellant's complaint seeking to be determined a de facto parent of Appellee's adopted child, holding that the district court erred in dismissing this case for lack of standing. The district court dismissed Appellant's complaint for lack of standing. On appeal, Appellant argued that the district court abused its discretion in refusing to hold a hearing to determine disputed facts and in concluding that Appellee's refusal to allow Appellant to adopt the child was dispositive of the issue of whether Appellee acknowledged or behaved as though Appellant was a parent to the child. The Supreme Judicial Court remanded the case, holding that the court's treatment of the single fact of Appellee's refusal to allow Appellant to adopt as dispositive in the standing analysis constituted an error of law, and the court should have held a hearing to determine disputed facts regarding the issue of standing. View "Young v. King" 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 Mother had a right to the effective assistance of counsel at the proceeding where she consented to the termination of her parental rights and that Mother received effective assistance when she voluntarily gave her consent. At a hearing, Mother advised the court that she had decided to consent to a termination of her parental rights. Satisfied that Mother's decision was knowing and voluntary, the court ordered that Mother's parental rights be terminated. Mother later filed a motion for a new trial pursuant to Me. R. Civ. P. 59, arguing that her consent was involuntary and that she had received ineffective assistance of counsel in giving consent. The court denied Mother's request to set aside her consent. Mother also filed a Me. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(6) motion for relief from the termination judgment based on counsel's alleged ineffective assistance. The court denied the motion. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the court did not clearly err in finding that Mother voluntarily consented to a termination of her parental rights or in denying the Rule 60(b)(6) motion for relief without holding a second evidentiary hearing. View "In re Child of Rebecca J." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating the parental rights of Mother and Father to their child pursuant to Maine's Child and Family Services and Child Protection Act, 22 Me. Rev. Stat. 4001 to 4099-H, and the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), 25 U.S.C.S. 1901-1963, holding that the district court did not err in terminating the parents' parental rights and denying their other requests for relief. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court did not err by concluding that active efforts had been made to prevent the breakup of the Indian family, as required by ICWA; (2) the evidence was sufficient to support the court's determination that Mother was parentally unfit within the meaning of state law; (3) the district court did not err in denying Father's two motions to transfer the case to the Penobscot Nation Tribal Court; and (4) the district court did not err in denying Father's post-judgment motion alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. View "In re Child of Radience K." on Justia Law

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The Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari in this case to address whether the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing as moot the appeal of a juvenile delinquency adjudication. M. F. was found delinquent for criminal attempt to enter an automobile, for which M. F. was placed on probation for 12 months. M.F. appealed, arguing the evidence was insufficient to support the juvenile court's adjudication of delinquency. When M.F.'s probationary sentence concluded, the Court of Appeals issued an order in which it declined to reach the merits of M. F.’s appeal, concluding that his case was moot because his probationary sentence had expired and because M. F. “has not shown, on this record, any adverse collateral consequences arising from the juvenile court’s adjudication of him as delinquent.” The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a juvenile who appeals his adjudication of delinquency was not required to show adverse collateral consequences in the record; such consequences would be be presumed. The Court concluded the Court of Appeals erred, and its order was reversed and the matter remanded for consideration on the merits. View "In the Interest of M.F." on Justia Law

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Appellant Molly Kent challenged a specific ruling of the family court on her request to modify a child custody and child support order issued by a North Carolina court. The family court granted in part and denied in part the appellant's request, without first determining whether the California court had jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). Accordingly, without reaching the merits of the arguments related to the substantive ruling on appeal, the California Court of Appeal reversed the order because, based on the record before the family court at the time it ruled, the court lacked jurisdiction to modify the North Carolina order. View "In re Marriage of Kent" on Justia Law

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In this dissolution proceeding, Stephanie George appeals an order requiring her to pay $10,000 in sanctions pursuant to Family Code section 271 to her ex-husband Daniel Deamon after Deamon was required to file a motion for entry of judgment pursuant to the terms of the parties' settlement. George contends that the family court erred by awarding sanctions without considering any oral testimony, relying instead on documents submitted in support of the sanctions motion. The Court of Appeal concluded George's argument lacked merit, and accordingly affirm the order. View "In re Marriage of George & Deamon" on Justia Law