TIMOTHY TRUE et al.
SHEENA HARMON et al
Submitted On Briefs December 18, 2014
On the briefs:
Michael L. Dubois,
Esq., Lewiston, for appellants Timothy and Phillipa True.
Elyse B. Segovias, Esq., Lewiston, for appellee Sheena Harman.
Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HJELM, JJ.
[¶1] Timothy and Philippa True, the paternal grandparents of Sheena Harmon's four-year-old son, appeal from a judgment entered in the District Court (Lewiston, Beliveau, J.) in which the court awarded Harmon attorney fees of $1,506.67 after dismissing the Trues' motion to modify a grandparent visitation order. The Trues contend that the court erred in awarding attorney fees without providing them " an opportunity for hearing," as required by 19-A M.R.S. § 105(1) (2014). We vacate the judgment and remand for further proceedings.
[¶2] In 2011, Timothy and Philippa True petitioned the District Court to establish visitation rights with their grandson pursuant to the Grandparents Visitation Act, 19-A M.R.S. § § 1801-1805 (2014). An order setting out a visitation schedule was agreed upon by the parties and entered by the court. The Trues moved to modify the visitation order in early 2014 after the parents moved to Kentucky. Harmon opposed the Trues' motion to modify, filed a cross-motion to modify, and moved to dismiss the matter for lack of jurisdiction. All parties requested attorney fees.
[¶3] Following a case management conference, the family law magistrate ( Woodman, M.) entered a case management order that focused on the jurisdictional issue and ordered the parties " to submit argument or supplemental filings within 14 days. Judge to take under advisement." The order identified the only issue remaining in dispute as " Rights of contact." The box next to " Attorney's Fees" was not checked. The court scheduled a status conference to be held if the " jurisdiction issue" was resolved. Harmon then submitted an affidavit and supporting
materials to document the parents' residence in Kentucky and their divorce proceedings pending in that state.
[¶4] As anticipated by the case management order, the court ( Beliveau, J.) acted on the challenge related to jurisdiction without further hearing. The court granted the motion to dismiss the matter because both parents had moved to Kentucky and the court therefore lacked subject matter jurisdiction.See 19-A M.R.S. § 1746(1)(B) (2014) (stating that, with some exceptions not applicable here, " a court of this State that has made a child custody determination . . . has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the determination until . . . [a] court of this State or a court of another state determines that the child, the child's parents and any person acting as a parent do not presently reside in this State" ). 19-A M.R.S. § 1746(1)(B) (2014) (stating that, with some exceptions not applicable here, " a court of this State that has made a child custody determination . . . has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over ...