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T.N. v. I.B.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

February 27, 2015

T.N. and C.N.
v.
I.B

         Released for Publication April 28, 2016.

          Appeal from Montgomery Juvenile Court. (JU-10-649.04). Anita L. Kelly, Trial Judge.

         For Appellants: Samuel J. McLure of The Adoption Law Firm, LLC, Montgomery.

         For Appellee: Michael Guy Holton, Wetumpka.

         DONALDSON, Judge. Thompson, P.J., and Pittman and Moore, JJ., concur. Thomas, J., recuses herself.

          OPINION

Page 676

          DONALDSON, Judge.

         T.N. and C.N. petitioned this court for a writ of mandamus directing the Montgomery Juvenile Court (" the juvenile court" ) (1) to refrain from interfering with their attempts to enforce a judgment entered by the Elmore Probate Court (" the probate court" ) on May 8, 2014, granting T.N. and C.N.'s petition to adopt S.B. (" the child" ), (2) to vacate a judgment in which the juvenile court granted custody of the child to D.C., and (3) to cease all proceedings relating to the child.

         In the underlying juvenile court proceedings, in which T.N. and C.N. were not parties, the juvenile court entered a judgment on April 21, 2014, granting custody of the child to D.C. and amended that judgment on May 16, 2014, pursuant to a

Page 677

postjudgment motion filed by the Montgomery County Department of Human Resources (" DHR" ). On May 9, 2014, the guardian ad litem for the child filed a motion for a temporary restraining order in the juvenile court seeking to enjoin T.N. and C.N. from taking action to enforce the judgment entered by the probate court granting T.N. and C.N.'s petition to adopt the child. On the same day, the juvenile court entered a temporary restraining order directing T.N. and C.N., their agents, and law enforcement to refrain from removing the child from D.C.'s custody. The juvenile court amended the restraining order on May 12, 2014, and set the matter for a hearing on May 20, 2014. On May 16, 2014, T.N. and C.N. filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with this court. On May 20, 2014, the juvenile court entered an order canceling the hearing scheduled for that day and indefinitely extending the restraining order. The juvenile court's order cited T.N. and C.N.'s filing of the petition for a writ of mandamus as good cause to extend the injunctive relief granted in the temporary restraining order. See Rule 65(b), Ala. R. Civ. P. (" Every temporary restraining order ... shall expire by its terms within such time after entry not to exceed ten (10) days ..., unless within the time so fixed the order for good cause shown is extended ...." ). On the same day, T.N. and C.N. amended their petition with this court asserting that the juvenile court's May 20 order converted the temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction that was entered without proper notice to T.N. and C.N. and without providing T.N. and C.N. with a right to be heard. Because the proper method to challenge an injunction is by direct appeal pursuant to Rule 4(a)(1), Ala. R. App. P., this court has elected to treat the petition for a writ of mandamus as an appeal. See J.A.W. v. G.H., 72 So.3d 1254, 1256 (Ala.Civ.App. 2011)(citing Ex parte State Pers. Bd., 45 So.3d 751, 754 (Ala. 2010)(holding that the proper means of obtaining appellate review in cases in which the trial court has enjoined the activity of a nonparty is by means of an appeal)). We dismiss the appeal because the issue regarding the restraining order is moot and because T.N. and C.N. have no standing to challenge the custody order.[1]

         On appeal, T.N. and C.N. contend that the juvenile court lacked authority to enter the orders restraining them, their agents, or law enforcement from enforcing the probate court's judgment of adoption and that the temporary restraining orders are void because the juvenile court no longer had jurisdiction over the matter after the probate court granted their petition to adopt the child. Pursuant to § 26-10A-3, Ala. Code 1975, proceedings for the adoption of a child brought under the Alabama Adoption Code, § 26-10A-1 et seq., Ala. Code 1975, are within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the probate court. Our supreme court has stated that " adoption proceedings are outside the jurisdiction of the juvenile court unless transferred there." Ex parte A.M.P., 997 So.2d 1008, 1021 (Ala. 2008)(citing § 12-15-30(b)(5), Ala. Code 1975). " This court has noted that the juvenile court is 'concerned with a different issue than the probate court and that [their respective judgments] are separate judgments rendered on different facts under different law.'" B.C. v. Cullman Cnty. Dep't of Human Res., [Ms. 2140100, Jan. 16, 2015] 169 So.3d 1059, , *3 (Ala.Civ.App. 2015)(quoting D.B. v. J.E.H., 984 So.2d 459, 462

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(Ala.Civ.App. 2007)). We have also concluded that a juvenile court does not have jurisdiction to enjoin nonparties from taking action in a probate court to adopt a child. See B.C., 169 So.3d at 1061, *3, and J.A.W., 72 So.3d at 1257. We note that the record does not reflect that T.N. or C.N. were made parties to the juvenile proceedings at issue in this appeal; however, T.N. nor C.N. do not raise any issue regarding whether the juvenile court has ...


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