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N.Z. v. J.C.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

November 15, 2019

N.Z.
v.
J.C. and E.C

         Appeals from Talladega Juvenile Court JU-18-100015.03 and JU-18-100016.03

Page 870

          Simone Horn, Talladega, for appellant.

          Kathleen Fuller, Childersburg, guardian ad litem.

         THOMPSON, Presiding Judge.

         On February 2, 2018, B.C.J. and C.J. filed in the Talladega Juvenile Court ("the juvenile court") petitions seeking to have J.R.J. and K.M.J. ("the children") declared dependent and an award of custody of the children.[1] Those dependency petitions

Page 871

were assigned case numbers JU-18-100015.01 and JU-18-100016.01 ("the .01 actions"). The record indicates that B.C.J. is the half brother of the children. B.C.J. is the son of J.J., the children's father.[2] N.Z. is the mother of the children. The testimony of the parties and comments by the juvenile-court judge indicate that the juvenile court ordered, either orally or in writing, that B.C.J. and C.J. were awarded pendente lite custody of the children in March 2018 so that the children could be enrolled in school.[3]

         On May 31, 2018, R.E. and S.E., who are C.J.'s parents, also filed dependency petitions pertaining to the children, and those petitions were assigned case numbers JU-18-100015.02 and JU-18-100016.02 ("the .02 actions").

         On August 30, 2018, J.C. and E.C. filed in the juvenile court petitions seeking to have the children declared dependent and an award of custody of the children. J.C. and E.C.'s dependency petitions were assigned case numbers JU-18-100015.03 and JU-18-100016.03 ("the .03 actions"). On October 1, 2018, the juvenile court entered an order in the .02 actions and in one of the.03 actions in which it determined that the children were, at that time, living in the home of J.C. and E.C., and it awarded pendente lite custody of the children to J.C. and E.C.[4]

         The juvenile court conducted an ore tenus hearing on all of the pending actions on November 2, 2018. At that hearing, C.J. testified that she no longer wished to pursue the .01 actions because she and B.C.J. had separated; B.C.J. did not appear at the ore tenus hearing. Also at that hearing, S.E. testified that, because of family and health reasons, she and R.E. could no longer prosecute the .02 actions. On November 14, 2018, the juvenile court entered orders dismissing the .01 actions and the.02 actions. The .03 actions remained pending at that time.

         On January 17, 2019, the juvenile court entered judgments in the .03 actions in which it found the children dependent and awarded custody of the children to J.C. and E.C. Each parent filed a postjudgment motion, and the juvenile court entered an order denying those motions. The mother timely appealed to this court from the January 17, 2019, judgments; the father is not a party to these appeals.

         At the time of the November 2, 2018, hearing, K.M.J. was 13 years old and

Page 872

J.R.J. was 12 years old. The children had lived with their mother in Florida ...


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