IN THE INTEREST OF T.B., Z.Y., and C.Y., Minor Children, M.U., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Washington County, Crystal
S. Cronk, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the juvenile court's authorization of
concurrent jurisdiction in district court for determination
of issues of child custody and support.
G. Daufeldt of Daufeldt Law Firm, P.L.C., Conroy, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Mary A. Triick, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Kathryn J. Salazar of Lamping, Schlegel & Salazar,
L.L.P., Washington, guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and McDonald, JJ.
appeal concerns three children adjudicated to be children in
need of assistance (CINA) based on their mother's
methamphetamine use. The parties stipulated to the CINA
adjudication, and the juvenile court placed Z.Y. and C.Y. in
their father's care and placed T.B. with a relative.
After the State moved to modify the children's placement
to return them to the mother's care, the father of Z.Y.
and C.Y. resisted and moved for concurrent jurisdiction to
litigate the children's custody. The juvenile court
authorized concurrent jurisdiction to any of the parents to
seek custodial or support orders in district court. The
sole question presented in this appeal is whether the
juvenile court erred in granting concurrent jurisdiction.
During a CINA proceeding, the juvenile court has exclusive
jurisdiction over custody, guardianship, or placement of the
children involved. See Iowa Code § 232.3(1);
In re K.R., 537 N.W.2d 774, 777 (Iowa Ct. App.
1995). However, the juvenile court may authorize a party to
litigate the children's custody concurrently in another
court. See Iowa Code § 232.3(2). The juvenile
court has the legal discretion to authorize concurrent
jurisdiction and must exercise this discretion in the
children's best interests. See In re R.G., 450
N.W.2d 823, 825 (Iowa 1990).
motion, Z.Y. and C.Y.'s father requested concurrent
jurisdiction to pursue physical care of the children. He
argued that the mother's history of addiction made it
"likely" he would prevail in such a case. He also
noted the children's need for stability and permanency,
arguing concurrent jurisdiction would allow him to pursue
that goal and would therefore be in the children's best
mother resisted the motion, arguing the father "should
not be allowed concurrent jurisdiction in order to seize an
opportunity in District Court to circumnavigate this Juvenile
Court's dispositional authority. Especially, when he
cannot effectively argue in Juvenile Court that allowing him
legal custody of the Minor Children is in their best
interests." However, granting concurrent jurisdiction
does not allow the district court "to enter orders that
conflict with or frustrate the placement that the juvenile
court has temporarily established for purposes of a pending
CINA proceeding." A.B. v. M.B., 569 N.W.2d 103,
104-05 (Iowa 1997). Rather, any custody order entered by a
court granted concurrent jurisdiction only determines custody
rights "if and when the juvenile court's placement
of the children during their CINA status has been rendered of
no further effect by orders of the juvenile court."
Id. at 105.
dispositional order regarding Z.Y. and C.Y., the juvenile
court found the least restrictive placement appropriate for
the children was for custody to "remain" placed
with the children's mother. It ordered Z.Y. and C.Y. to
remain in their father's physical care until June 3,
2017,  and that the parties establish a
visitation schedule to allow the children meaningful time
with both parents during the summer vacation. It also ordered
the Washington County Department of Human Services (DHS) to
supervise Z.Y. and C.Y.'s placement. The court granted
concurrent jurisdiction for either parent to seek
custodial/support orders in district court.
dispositional order regarding T.B., the juvenile court found
the least restrictive placement appropriate for the child was
for custody of the child to "remain" placed with
the child's mother. The court noted the father of T.B.
requested visitation and the mother agreed. The court ordered
the DHS to supervise T.B.'s placement. The court granted
concurrent jurisdiction for either parent to seek custodial
and/or support orders in district court.
the juvenile court's dispositional orders do not
specifically order physical placement of the children with
the mother,  the State and guardian ad litem both
recommended transferring care to the mother, indicating both
parents are suitable caregivers even though the purpose of
the dispositional order remain. These are the circumstances
under which an order granting concurrent jurisdiction is
appropriate. See In re A.T. & A.D., 799 N.W.2d
148, 153 (Iowa 2011) ("Such an order is appropriate when
both parents are suitable caregivers, but the juvenile court
is not yet able to terminate the proceedings because the
purposes of the dispositional order have not been
accomplished and the child still needs supervision, care, or
treatment."). In addition, the DHS recommended the court
grant concurrent jurisdiction, and the guardian ad litem was
in agreement. We find no abuse of discretion in the juvenile
court's decision to grant concurrent jurisdiction.
Cf. In re B.G., No. 07-0839, 2007 WL 2119015, at *1
(Iowa Ct. App. July ...