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In re B.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 12, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF B.C., Minor Child, S.C., Mother, Appellant

Released for Publication April 14, 2014.

Appeal fro the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Christine Dalton, District Associate Judge. A mother appeals from termination of her parental rights to one child.

Lori J. Kieffer-Garrison, Davenport, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, Michael J. Walton, County Attorney, and Julie A. Walton, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Dana Copell, Davenport, for father.

Jean Capdevila, Davenport, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Mullins, JJ.

OPINION

Page 78

MULLINS, J.

A mother appeals from termination of her parental rights to one child, B.C., pursuant to Iowa Code sections 232.116(1)(d), (h), (i) and 232.117 (2013). The two issues in this appeal are jurisdictional: The mother argues the Iowa juvenile court in Scott County did not have temporary emergency jurisdiction to enter the removal order and did not have subject matter jurisdiction to enter the termination order. We reverse, vacate, and remand the termination, adjudication, and removal orders.

Prior to the birth of B.C., the mother lived within the Quad Cities, moving frequently between Iowa and Illinois, essentially transient. At the time, the mother had three other children living in Iowa who were the subjects of child in need of

Page 79

assistance (CINA) petitions. Two or three months before the birth of B.C., the mother moved in with the maternal grandmother in Rock Island, Illinois. In January 2013, B.C. was born in an Illinois hospital. Two days later, the Iowa Juvenile Court in Scott County entered an order for temporary removal. The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) removed B.C. directly from the Illinois hospital and placed him with an Iowa foster family, where he has remained throughout this case. In its " exparte application/affidavit for temporary removal," the petitioner State of Iowa stated, " DHS contacted DCFS in Illinois and Illinois has agreed to honor am [sic] Ex-Parte issued by the State of Iowa and allow Iowa to assume jurisdiction of the child."

We review questions of subject matter jurisdiction de novo under the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), enacted as Iowa Code chapter 598B. In re Guardianship of Deal-Burch, 759 N.W.2d 341, 343 (Iowa Ct. App. 2008). A party may raise subject matter jurisdiction at any time. In re Jorgensen, 627 N.W.2d 550, 554 (Iowa 2001). Jurisdictional requirements are mandatory, not discretionary. In re Marriage of Ross, 471 N.W.2d 889, 893 (Iowa Ct. App. 1991). " If the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, it is without authority to hear the case and must dismiss the petition." Id. (emphasis in original). We review orders terminating parental rights de novo. In re P.L., 778 N.W.2d 33, 40 (Iowa 2010). We ...


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