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F.M. v. B.S.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

December 5, 2014

F.M.
v.
B.S. and T.G

Page 664

Appeal from Autauga Juvenile Court. (JU-12-154.02 and JU-12-154.03).

REVERSED AND REMANDED.

For Appellant: Terinna S. Moon of Moon Law, LLC, Prattville.

For B.S., Appellee: Thomas H. Claunch III of Harding & Claunch, LLC, Montgomery.

Thompson, P.J., and Pittman, Thomas, and Donaldson, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 665

MOORE, Judge.

F.M. (" the maternal grandmother" ) appeals from a judgment entered by the Autauga Juvenile Court (" the juvenile court" ) transferring physical custody of I.R.B. (" the child" ) from the maternal grandmother to the child's father, B.S. (" the father" ), and transferring legal custody of the child from the maternal grandmother to the father and the child's mother, T.G. (" the mother" ). We reverse.

Background

The proceedings giving rise to this appeal began when the father filed a " dependency complaint, custody affidavit, and petition" relating to the child in the juvenile court on June 24, 2013. In that pleading, the father alleged that the child was born out of wedlock on May 15, 2008; that he had " begged for a paternity test" but the mother had insisted that he had not fathered the child; that the mother and the maternal grandmother had " kept the ... child's paternity from [the father]" ; that the mother, due to her " profligate lifestyle," had lost custody of the child to the maternal grandmother in proceedings of which the father did not receive notice; that the maternal grandmother, when seeking public assistance, had identified the father, as well as other men, to the Chilton County Department of Human Resources as the possible father of the child; that the father had recently discovered that he was the father of the child; that the father wanted custody of the child; and that the father was a fit parent who could properly care for the child. The father asserted that the child was dependent due to the unfitness of the mother and the abandonment of the child by the mother.

On July 16, 2013, the maternal grandmother filed an answer. In her answer, the maternal grandmother denied that she had lied to the father about the paternity of the child; admitted that she had received custody by virtue of a 2012 dependency judgment, which was entered without notice to the father; admitted that she had utilized the Chilton County Department of Human Resources to determine the paternity of the child; and denied all the other allegations asserted by the father. The maternal grandmother also filed a motion to continue a hearing scheduled by the juvenile court in which she asserted that the State of Alabama had filed a child-support action against the father in the Chilton District Court; that the paternity of the child had been confirmed by genetic testing on April 10, 2013; that the maternal grandmother had voluntarily permitted the father to have contact and visit with the child since April 10, 2013; and that the parties were scheduling counseling for the benefit of the child.[1]

The juvenile court appointed a guardian ad litem for the child and scheduled a hearing for ...


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