Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

K.A.B. v. J.D.B.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

December 14, 2018

K.A.B.
v.
J.D.B.

          Appeal from DeKalb Juvenile Court (JU-16-355.01)

          MOORE, JUDGE.

         K.A.B. ("the mother") appeals from a judgment of the DeKalb Juvenile Court ("the juvenile court") awarding custody of K.J.B., her child with J.D.B. ("the father"), to the father. We dismiss the appeal in part and affirm the judgment of the juvenile court.

         Procedural History

         On August 18, 2016, the DeKalb County Department of Human Resources ("DHR") filed a petition requesting that the juvenile court issue a pickup order for the child. DHR alleged, among other things, that the child was a dependent child and was in need or care or supervision based on the following:

"[DHR] became involved when [it] received a call from the Fort Payne Police Department on August 17, 2016. The mother ... had stopped breathing and was unresponsive. She was transported by ambulance to DeKalb Regional Medical Center, where she was resuscitated. [The mother] has a history of narcolepsy. She does not have the narcolepsy under control in order to be able to take care of the ... child.... No other relatives could be found at this time for placement of the ... child."

         On August 24, 2016, the juvenile court entered a shelter-care order that, among other things, adjudicated the child to be a child "in need of shelter care," vested custody of the child with DHR, appointed a guardian ad litem to represent the child, and appointed an attorney to represent the mother. DHR filed a motion on August 30, 2016, seeking, among other things, an order preventing the mother from entering DHR's premises. On September 14, 2016, the guardian ad litem filed a motion seeking to suspend the mother's visitation with the child. A 30-day review hearing was conducted on September 15, 2016, and, on September 19, 2016, the juvenile court entered an order that, among other things, directed that the child's custody remain vested with DHR, adjudicated the child a dependent child, suspended the mother's visitation with the child until completion of a psychological evaluation, ordered the mother not to go on or about the premises of DHR, and ordered the mother and the father to each pay child support in the amount of $245 each month.

         Following a review hearing on December 15, 2016, the juvenile court entered an order on December 20, 2016, maintaining custody of the child with DHR, reaffirming the child's dependency, continuing the monthly child-support payments to be made by the mother and the father, and setting the case for a review hearing. On January 3, 2017, the mother filed a "motion of notice of continuing objection to the DHR court report as entered from the December 15, 2016, conference and hearing," asserting that DHR had, among other things, failed to correct certain false and prejudicial statements in a report it filed at the December 15, 2016, hearing. On that same date, the mother filed a motion to alter, amend, or vacate the juvenile court's December 20, 2016, order, reiterating the assertions made in her motion regarding her continuing objection to DHR's court report.

         On January 16, 2017, the father filed a pleading seeking immediate placement, pendente lite custody, and permanent custody of the child. Following a hearing, the juvenile court entered a review order on January 31, 2017, directing, among other things, that any and all court reports entered into evidence by previous order of the court were to be retracted and stricken from the record; that custody of the child was vested with DHR; that reasonable efforts had been made to prevent removal of the child from the home; that the mother was allowed alternate counselors in light of her objection to the counselors that had been provided by DHR; and that the mother was to pay child support in the amount of $246 per month.

         On March 13, 2017, the mother filed an "answer" and a "counterclaim," apparently in response to both DHR's dependency petition and the father's pleading seeking custody and in which she sought a return of the child to her custody. The father filed, on March 15, 2017, a motion to strike the mother's answer and counterclaim as untimely; he also filed an answer to the mother's counterclaim. The mother filed a response to the father's motion to strike on March 17, 2017. On March 24, 2017, the mother filed a motion seeking to transfer the case to the DeKalb Circuit Court. The juvenile court entered an order on June 2, 2017, denying the mother's motion to transfer[1] and setting the case for a final hearing.

         A permanency hearing was conducted on August 11, 2017, and an order was entered on August 28, 2017, continuing custody of the child with DHR, adjudicating the child as dependent, and changing the child's permanency plan to adoption with no identified resource. On September 14, 2017, a final hearing was held, and, on September 15, 2017, the juvenile court entered a final judgment that, among other things, awarded custody of the child to the father, subject to the award of supervised visitation to the mother, and permitted DHR to close its file on this matter. The mother filed her notice of appeal to this court on September 29, 2017. (C. 190).

         Facts

         The father testified that he and the mother had lived together for four years before they divorced in 2015. According to the father, he had not appeared for the divorce hearing; the divorce judgment, which was entered as an exhibit at the final hearing in this matter, awarded the mother sole legal and physical custody of the child, subject to the father's right to supervised visitation, and ordered the father to pay child support to the mother in the amount of $508 per month. The father admitted that, at the time of the final hearing in the dependency proceedings, he was in arrears on his child-support payments, but, he stated, he had given the mother what he could. The father testified that the mother had allowed him unsupervised visitation with the child following their divorce until their relationship had deteriorated in November 2015; according to the father, he had not seen the child from November 2015 until he had been contacted by the child's guardian ad litem in August 2016.

         According to the father, once he and the mother had separated, he had moved to Indiana where he had received support from a number of relatives. He stated that he had lived in Indiana for two years; that, at the time of the final hearing, he was living in a two-bedroom house where the child would have his own bedroom; and that he could financially afford to care for the child with earnings from his employment as a "key holder" at Pet Value and from certain "GI" military benefits he receives monthly. The father admitted that he had undergone two drug tests since the case had been initiated and that both of those tests had been positive for marijuana. The father testified that a prescription medication had resulted in false-positive test results for marijuana; however, John Rice, the director of the DeKalb County Court Referral Program, testified that at least one of the father's positive drug-test results had been sent out for confirmation and that the lab results had confirmed the presence of marijuana. Rice testified also that the father had submitted to a drug test on September 14, 2017, and that the results of that test had been negative for all substances.

         The mother testified that she had cared for the child since he was born and that the father had abandoned her and the child. According to the mother, the father had mistreated the child during the parties' marriage, but, she said, she had allowed him unsupervised visitation with the child following their divorce because his behavior had improved. The mother testified that, at the time of the final hearing, she was living in a townhouse in Fort Payne and that she did not pay rent because the townhouse was in federally subsidized housing. (R. 137-38, 165). According to the mother, she has had cancer four times; she has spinal problems; she has been diagnosed with narcolepsy; and she had been exposed to black mold, which had caused her to stop breathing on the occasion in August 2016 that had resulted in the child's being removed from her custody. She stated that, at the time of the final hearing, she was taking several medications, including two hormone pills, which, she said, can cause blackouts, heart attacks, and strokes. The mother testified that, on ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.