IN RE THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF A.L.G.B., Minor child.
G-B and R.G-B., Appellees. R.G-B., Appellant,
from the Iowa District Court for Henry County, Michael J.
biological mother appeals the district court's denial of
her motion to dismiss a previous order establishing a
guardianship for the mother's child. REVERSED AND
L. Miller and Sarah S. James of Whitfield & Eddy, P.L.C.,
Des Moines, for appellant.
Patrick C. Brau of Brau Law Office, Mt.Pleasant, for
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.
POTTERFIELD, Presiding Judge.
the biological mother of A.L.G.B., appeals from the district
court's denial of her motion to dismiss the guardianship
for A.L.G.B. As she did in her motion, Rainey maintains the
district court could only exercise emergency temporary
jurisdiction over child-custody proceedings involving
A.L.G.B. at the time the initial temporary guardianship
commenced; because the district court failed to enter the
temporary order in accordance with the statute controlling
temporary emergency jurisdiction, the court did not have
jurisdiction to enter the final order. She asks us to find
the guardianship is void.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
was born in Missouri in June 2014. Within a few days of
A.L.B.G.'s birth, Raney brought her to Iowa, and she
remained living in the state until September. Raney and
A.L.B.G. then returned to Missouri, where they resided until
mid-July 2015 when Raney asked the appellees to bring
A.L.G.B. to Iowa to live with them while she sought treatment
for her heroin addiction.
than one month later, on August 5, the appellees filed a
petition asking the court to appoint them the temporary
guardians of A.L.G.B. In their petition, the appellees
alleged, "The proposed ward is a resident of the State
of Iowa." The petition did not include a jurisdictional
affidavit, as required by Iowa Code section 598B.209 (2015),
and it is now undisputed Iowa was not the "home
state" of A.L.G.B., as statutorily defined. See
Iowa Code § § 598B.204(1). On the same day, Raney
filed a written consent to the guardianship, and the court
appointed the appellees the temporary guardians of A.L.G.B.,
finding, "It is necessary to protect the health and
safety of A.L.[G.]B. to appoint the Petitioners, proposed
guardians, as temporary guardians, until such time as there
is a hearing and judgment on the Petition for Appointment of
January 21, 2016, the appellees filed a motion asking the
court to "set a hearing on the Petition for Appointment
of Guardians (Involuntary)." The court set a hearing on
"said Petition" for February 29. Raney again filed
written consent, stating she "confirm[ed] that it is in
the best interests of A.L.G.[B.] that the Court grant the
guardianship of A.L.G.[B.] and appoint" the appellees
February 29 hearing, Raney testified about the possible
natural father of A.L.G.B. Due to the new information,
following the hearing, the court filed a written order
requiring that the named man be served. The court did not
otherwise rule on the petition to appoint guardians.
April 7, the court filed a written ruling. In it, the court
noted the biological father had been served and indicated he
had no objection to the proposed guardianship. The court also
noted Raney's consent to the guardianship. The court
found it was "necessary to appoint guardians for the
protection of the health and safety of A.L.G.B." and
then appointed the appellees as guardians.
filed a motion to dismiss the guardianship for lack of
subject matter jurisdiction on August 26. In the petition,
Raney maintained that Iowa was not the "home state"
of A.L.G.B. at the time the appellees were appointed
temporary guardians, so the court could not have had subject
matter jurisdiction. See Iowa Code § 598.102(7)
("'Home state' means the state in which a child
lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at
least six consecutive months immediately before the
commencement of a child-custody proceeding.").
Additionally, she claimed that the court did not have
temporary emergency jurisdiction either because the court
failed to make any of the necessary or factual legal findings
to assert that jurisdiction. Alternatively, she maintained
that even if the court had properly exercised temporary
emergency jurisdiction ...