from Mobile Juvenile Court (CS-15-900545)
("the father") appeals from a judgment entered by
the Mobile Juvenile Court ("the juvenile court")
dismissing his petition for custody of J.J. ("the
child") after the issuance of this court's opinions
on original submission and on application for rehearing in a
previous appeal filed by the father. See L.R.S. v.
M.J., [Ms. 2150454, Sept. 23, 2016] ___So. 3d___ (Ala.
Civ. App. 2016) ("L.R.S. I"); and ___So.
3d at___ (opinion on rehearing) ("L.R.S.
case originated when the father filed a petition seeking
"primary" custody of the child. In the father's
petition, he alleged, among other things, that M.E.J.
("the mother") "had neglected the child's
educational needs, had abused drugs, and had abandoned the
child on more than one occasion." L.R.S. I,
___So. 3d at___ . After a trial, the juvenile court entered a
judgment declining to find the child dependent, stating that
"'the current action is an initial custody
determination, '" and finding "that custody
should be awarded to the father based on the best interests
of the child." L.R.S. I, ___So. 3d at___ . In
L.R.S. I, this court reasoned:
"The assertions in the father's petition could be
construed as allegations of the dependency of the child to
the extent the father claimed that the mother, who was
exercising sole physical and legal custody of the child at
the time, see Ex parte L.E.O., 61 So.3d 1042 (Ala.
2010) (holding that, in determining dependency, juvenile
court should determine whether legal custodian of child is
providing adequate care), was failing to assure that the
child attended school as required, see Ala. Code
1975, § 12-15-102(8)4., had abandoned the child,
see Ala. Code 1975, § 12-15-102(8)5., and was
abusing drugs, see Ala. Code 1975, §
12-15-102(8)8. A juvenile court has exclusive original
jurisdiction over petitions alleging the dependency of a
child, Ala. Code 1975, § 12-15-114(a), even when the
dependency petition involves a custody dispute between
parents. See T.K. v. M.G., 82 So.3d 1 (Ala. Civ.
App. 2011). However, in this case, the juvenile court did not
find the child dependent. This court has consistently held
that a juvenile court cannot use its dependency jurisdiction
to dispose of the custody of a child unless the juvenile
court finds the child to be dependent, see K.C.G. [v.
S.J.R.], 46 So.3d  at 501-02 [(Ala. Civ. App.
2010)] (citing, among other cases, Ex parte K.S.G.,
645 So.2d 297 (Ala. Civ. App. 1992), Ex parte
J.R.W., 630 So.2d 447 (Ala. Civ. App. 1992), E.H. v.
N.L., 992 So.2d 740 (Ala. Civ. App. 2008), and T.B.
v. T.H., 30 So.3d 429 (Ala. Civ. App. 2009)), because a
juvenile court has jurisdiction only to dismiss a dependency
petition if the child at issue is not adjudicated to be
dependent. See Ala. Code 1975, § 12-15-310(b).
Thus, the juvenile court did not have the authority under
§ 12-15-114(a) to enter its judgment."
___So. 3d at___ . This court proceeded to discuss whether
there were any other alternative jurisdictional bases on
which the juvenile court could enter a judgment in the case;
having found none, this court concluded that the juvenile
court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to enter its
judgment and, therefore, that the judgment was void.
L.R.S. I, ___So. 3d at ___. This
court dismissed the appeal with instructions to the juvenile
court to set aside its void judgment. L.R.S. I,
___So. 3d at ___. The father filed an application for
rehearing, which prompted a second opinion from this court,
see L.R.S. II, ___So. 3d at___, in which this court
maintained its original disposition of the case.
the issuance of this court's opinions, the father filed a
motion requesting from "the Presiding Judge of the
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit ... an Order appointing a Circuit
Judge to hear the Parties' Petitions and Motions."
On March 13, 2017, the juvenile court entered an order
denying the father's motion and dismissing the
father's petition; the juvenile court stated: "[A]s
the Court of Civil Appeals has found no jurisdiction, and
ordered the vacating of the [judgment], this Court lacks any
other option [other than dismissing the petition]." The
juvenile court's judgment also stated that any future
custody petition should be filed in Utah, where the child
appeal, the father argues that the juvenile court erred in
dismissing his petition; instead, he argues, the juvenile
court should have transferred the appeal to the Mobile
Circuit Court. We note, however, that, in this court's
opinion in L.R.S. I, we did not order the juvenile
court to transfer the case to the Mobile Circuit Court. As we
expressed previously, the father's petition contained
allegations of dependency, which are within the exclusive
jurisdiction of the juvenile court. L.R.S. I, ___So.
3d at___ (citing § 12-15-114(a), Ala. Code 1975). As
stated in our previous opinion, once a juvenile court
determines that a child is not dependent, pursuant to §
12-15-310(b), Ala. Code 1975, the only action it may take is
to dismiss the case. L.R.S. I, ___So. 3d at ___.
Therefore, we conclude that the juvenile court complied with
this court's opinion and § 12-15-310(b) by
dismissing the father's petition.
father also argues that the juvenile court's declining to
transfer the case violated his right to due process; however,
the father does not cite any authority establishing that the
juvenile court's compliance with our instructions and the
well-established law concerning the juvenile court's
jurisdiction violates his due-process rights. Therefore, we
cannot find any error on this point. See,
e.g., White Sands Grp., L.L.C. v. PRS II,
LLC, 998 So.2d 1042, 1058 (Ala. 2008) ("Rule
28(a)(10)[, Ala. R. App. P., ] requires that arguments in
briefs contain discussions of facts and relevant legal
authorities that support the party's position. If they do
not, the arguments are waived.").
father also argues that the juvenile court erred in
concluding that Utah is the proper forum for a custody action
under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement
Act, § 30-3B-101 et seq., Ala. Code 1975. As we
previously recognized, however, the juvenile court, having
declined to find the child dependent, lacked jurisdiction to
take any action other than to dismiss the case. Ala. Code
1975, § 12-15-310(b). Therefore, any statement regarding
the proper court in which to file a custody petition is
without any legal effect, and, therefore, we will not address
the father's arguments regarding the merits of the
juvenile court's statement on that point.
on the foregoing, we affirm the juvenile court's judgment
dismissing the father's petition.
Thompson, P.J., and Pittman, Thomas, and ...