Monday, November 14, 2011
Must File Adoption and Petition to Terminate Parental Rights in Order for District Court to Take Jurisdiction, However, Adoption Need Not Be 100% Ripe at Time of Filing
Father signed a relinquishment and consent to adoption at the time of his divorce in 2005. In 2007, Mother remarried and she and Stepfather filed to terminate Father's parental rights and complete Stepfather's Petition for Adoption without providing notice to Father. The Trial Court granted the adoption and termination. Father appealed. Father argued that since Stepfather did not qualify to file the adoption proceeding (because the children had not lived with him for one year), the adoption was not properly before the district court and accordingly, neither was the Petition for Termination. The Court of Appeals agreed with Father and set aside the termination and adoption. Mother and Stepfather petitioned for, and were granted cert.
The Supreme Court found that the District Court did have jurisdiction to hear the termination because Stepfather had filed the adoption with the termination proceedings. The Court found no additional requirement that Stepfather qualify perfectly for the adoption before filing to terminate Father's parental rights. In sum, while an adoption must be filed with the Petition to Terminate Parental rights in order for the district court to have jurisdiction, the Adoption Petitioner need not comply with all of U.C.A. 78B-6-135(7)(b) before filing the actions. Reversed to Court of Appeals to consider any other grounds for appeal.
Full opinion available at: http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/supopin/InreRBFS080211.pdf
Child Welfare: Completion of Service Plan Does Not Guarantee Reunification; and Award of Permanent Custody is an Appealable Order
Mother appeals the Juvenile Court award of custody to Father. The Court of Appeals first finds that the order of permanent custody to Father is a final and appealable order. As to the merits of the appeal, the Court found that the Juvenile Court had jurisdiction to make the order and refused to disturb the Order of the Juvenile court because it had foundation for the order. The Juvenile Court found that Father believed that it was important that the children have a relationship with their mother, and Father was actively engaged in children's lives. The Juvenile Court also found that Mother had completed her service plan, however, according to treatment providers and other testimony at trial Mother had not internalized her treatment. Affirmed.
Full Decision Available at http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/appopin/JV_elf072911.pdf
Petition to Modify Two-Part Test Must Be Analytically Bifurcated; and Child Support Can be Modified Even if Not Included in Petition to Modify
Mother and Father were divorced and Husband was awarded custody. In the Decree, the Court ordered that if Mother returned to SLC area, the parties would have joint-custody. Mother moved back to SLC area, but Father moved for and obtained a setting aside of that portion of the Decree as a perspective change in custody. Mother then filed a Petition to Modify based on her relocation to SLC and Father’s maltreatment of the minor child. Father moved to bifurcate the trial and have best interests and change of circumstances heard separately. The Trial court denied the motion and the Court of Appeals affirmed. Father petition for writ of cert, which was granted. The Supreme Court found that while the trial court must keep the analysis of changed circumstances and bests interests analytically separate, it need not hold separate trials or limit a witnesses testimony to one or the other. The Court further found that child support is an inherent issue if a change of custody is requested and can be addressed by the court even if not completely pleaded in a complaint.
Full opinion available at: http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/supopin/Doyle072211.pdf
Friday, November 11, 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.
Full Decision available at http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/supopin/InReEZ071911.pdf
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Property Not Properly Conveyed Away from the Marital Estate is Marital Property; and Fraud Tolls Statute of Limitations on Quiet Title Actions
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Turner had been found in contempt five times for failure to pay child support. The fifth time Turner did not pay the amount owing and served 6 months. After his release, the court issued another order to show cause and sentenced him to 12 months in jail without making a finding as to Turner's ability to pay. He appealed.
Turner argued that he should have been provided counsel at the show cause hearing because there was a chance that he would be subject to incarceration.
The Supreme Court found that due process requirements are met and punishment can be imposed if the alleged contemnor is found to have had notice of the order, ability to comply with the order and willful noncompliance with the order. No further safeguards are required, and if those safeguards are preserved the Court may impose jail time.
Full Decision available at http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=8203402461706269179&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
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