for Publication April 28, 2016.
from Talladega Circuit Court. (DR-10-82). Jeb Fannin, Trial
Appellant: Simone Horn, Talladega.
Appellee: S. Dale Price, Sylacauga.
Judge. Thompson, P.J., and Pittman, Moore, and Donaldson,
Joseph Brock (" the father" ) appeals from a
judgment of the Talladega Circuit Court (" the circuit
court" ) denying his petition to set aside a prior
judgment awarding custody of K.J.B. (" the child" )
to Nell Herd and Roger Herd (" the grandparents" ).
record on appeal, which is sparse, reveals the following
relevant facts and procedural history. The father and Kelly
Nicole Herd (" the mother" ) are the unmarried
parents of the child, who was born on August 1, 2007. On
December 22, 2009, the grandparents filed in the Talladega
Juvenile Court (" the juvenile court" ) a petition
seeking an adjudication of the paternity of the child and
custody of the child. Attached to the grandparents'
petition was an answer and waiver and acceptance of service
from the mother and the father that stated, in part, that
they " admit[ted] each and every allegation contained in
the petition." On February 16, 2010, the juvenile court
transferred the grandparents' petition to the circuit
court. On February 25, 2010, the circuit
court entered a judgment adjudicating the father as the
child's legal father, awarding custody of the child to
the grandparents, awarding the father standard visitation,
and ordering the father to pay monthly child support.
January 22, 2015, the father filed a motion for relief from
the circuit court's judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b)(4),
Ala. R. Civ. P., in which he asserted that the circuit court
had lacked subject-matter jurisdiction
to adjudicate paternity and to decide the related issues of
the care, custody, and control of a child born to unmarried
parents. The circuit court entered an order on February 11,
2015, denying the father's Rule 60(b)(4)
motion. The father filed a notice of appeal to
this court on March 13, 2015. In his brief on appeal, the
father argues that his Rule 60(b)(4) motion should have been
granted because, he says, the circuit court lacked
jurisdiction (1) to adjudicate the paternity of the child and
(2) to determine whether the child was dependent.
first note that " [o]ur review of the grant or denial of
a Rule 60(b)(4) motion is de novo; such a motion challenges
the underlying judgment as being void, so the question of the
validity of the judgment is a purely legal one in which
discretion has no place." Burgett v. Porter,
[Ms. 2130889, April 10, 2015] 180 So.3d 20, 21,
(Ala.Civ.App. 2015) (citing Northbrook Indem. Co. v.
Westgate, Ltd., 769 So.2d 890, 893 (Ala. 2000); and
General Motors Corp. v. Plantation Pontiac-Cadillac, Buick,
GMC Truck, Inc., 762 So.2d 859, 861 (Ala.Civ.App.
1999)). Additionally, although the father's Rule 60(b)(4)
motion was filed almost five years after the entry of the
circuit court's judgment, " a [Rule 60(b)(4)] motion
for relief from a void judgment is not governed by the
reasonable-time requirement of Rule 60(b)" and can be
filed at any time. Ex parte Full Circle Distrib.,
L.L.C., 883 So.2d 638, 643 (Ala. 2003).
address the father's argument that the circuit court
lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate the child's paternity.
As the primary support for this argument, the father,
apparently citing to § 12-15-115, Ala. Code 1975, states
that " a juvenile court shall have exclusive original
jurisdiction 'in proceedings to establish paternity of a
child born out of wedlock.'" However, as the
grandparents point out in their brief, § 12-15-115, a
part of the current Alabama Juvenile Justice Act (" the
AJJA" ), actually provides: " (a) A
juvenile court shall also exercise original jurisdiction of
the following civil proceedings: ... (6) Proceedings to
establish parentage of a child pursuant to the Alabama
Uniform Parentage Act, Chapter 17 of Title 26."
(Emphasis added.) Compare former ...