Friday, November 11, 2011

PKPA Applies in Adoption Cases and Must Preserve Grounds for Appeal at Trial Level

In Re Baby E.Z., 2011 UT 38 (Utah Supreme Court, July 19, 2011)
Mother moved to Utah while pregnant and placed the baby for adoption. Father moved to intervene in the adoption matter, but his intervention was denied. Father Appealed.
Because an adoption proceeding requires a custody determination the PKPA applies. However, Father failed to raise PKPA at the trial court level. Because PKPA is not a jurisdictional issue, he cannot raise it for the first time on appeal. Because he failed to raise PKPA at the trial level, his claim is waived.
Father also raised a due process challenge to the requirement of paternal assertion prior to a mother’s relinquishment. However, Father failed to raise this at the trial level.
In short, because Father failed to preserve his grounds for appeal, both grounds were waived and not fully reviewed by the Court. Affirmed


Scott Wiser said...

I found the Supreme Court's discussion on the difference between "subject-matter" and "territorial" jurisdiction to be quite fascinating. It sounds like the defense of lack of SMJ has been all but eviscerated. The way I read the opinion, if a couple were to obtain a divorce without meeting the 3-month jurisdictional requirement then that fact would no defeat SMJ if raised for the first time on appeal.

I'm surprised the Court even reached the issue of whether the PKPA applied in adoption cases if the issue was not preserved for appeal. I can only assume they were eager to prevent a terrible case like this from ever reaching their dockets again?

Studying Law said...

Great post! Been reading a lot about adoption law recently. Thanks for the info here!


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