GUARDIANSHIP OF JAKOB A. GIONEST
Argued November 3, 2015
On the briefs and at oral argument:
Amy B. McGarry, Esq., McGarry Law Offices, P.A., Kennebunk, for appellant Sharon Cote.
Wendy Moulton Starkey, Esq., Rose Law, LLC, York, for appellee Jessica Cote.
Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
[¶1] Sharon Cote appeals from a judgment of the York County Probate Court ( Longley, J. ) denying her petition for a permanent guardianship of her grandson, Jakob A. Gionest. Sharon challenges the court's determination that she failed to meet her burden of establishing both that the child's mother, Jessica Cote, is unfit to parent and that a guardianship is in the best interest of the child. We affirm the judgment.
[¶2] In March of 2014, after a contested hearing, the court granted Sharon's petition requesting that she be appointed her grandson's temporary guardian. In its order, the court found that the child's mother, Jessica A. Cote, had created a temporarily intolerable living situation and was unfit to parent at that time. See 18-A M.R.S. § 5-204(c) (2014). Apparently assuming that Jessica would soon recover her ability to care for her son, the court fashioned an order creating a limited guardianship that required Sharon to take specific steps to assist Jessica to " ameliorate this situation." See 18-A M.R.S. § 5-105 (2014).
[¶3] On September 11, 2014, approximately two weeks before the temporary limited guardianship would have terminated, Sharon petitioned for a permanent guardianship of the child, again on grounds of an intolerable living situation pursuant to section 5-204(c). The court conducted a testimonial hearing on January 9 and 23, 2015, during which Sharon, Jessica, and several additional witnesses testified.
[¶4] By decision dated January 26, 2015, the court found that Jessica had stabilized her life since the initial guardianship order was entered and that she was currently fit to parent the child. In recognition of the child's special needs, however, the court created an extended transitional order appointing Sharon as an interim, limited guardian for the child until the end of the school year, at which time the child would return to Jessica's care. Sharon appeals. See 18-A M.R.S. § 1-308 (2014).
[¶5] Sharon filed her petition pursuant to 18-A M.R.S. § 5-204(c), which provides as follows:
The court may appoint a guardian or coguardians for an unmarried minor if . . . [t]he person or persons whose consent is required under subsection (b) do not consent, but the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the person or persons have failed to respond to proper notice or a living situation has been created that is at least temporarily intolerable for the child even though the living situation does not rise to the level of jeopardy required for the final termination of ...