Submitted on Briefs September 28, 2015.
On the briefs: Christopher Seekins, appellant Pro se.
Peter J. Cyr, Esq., Law Offices of Peter J. Cyr, Portland, for appellee Jennifer Hamm.
Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, and HUMPHREY, JJ.
[¶1] Christopher Seekins and Jennifer Hamm met in Guatemala, and their daughter was born there in August 2013. Although neither Hamm nor the child has ever been to Maine, Seekins filed a parental rights and responsibilities complaint in the Maine District Court. Seekins now appeals from a judgment entered in the District Court (Belfast, Sparaco, J. ) that granted Jennifer Hamm's motion to dismiss the complaint based on a determination that Maine lacks jurisdiction pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), 19-A M.R.S. § § 1731-1783 (2014). We affirm the judgment of dismissal, concluding that the court applied the applicable law properly.
[¶2] On November 18, 2014, when the child was approximately fifteen months old, Seekins filed a complaint in Maine to establish parental rights and responsibilities. Hamm retained counsel and moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. She argued that Maine lacked long-arm jurisdiction over her pursuant to 14 M.R.S. § 704-A (2014).
[¶3] Seekins filed a memorandum in opposition to the motion to dismiss, in which he raised the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (" Hague Convention" ) and the federal statute providing remedies for international child abductions that violate the Hague Convention, see 42 U.S.C.S. § 11603 (now codified at 22 U.S.C.S. § 9003 (LEXIS through Pub. L. No. 114-73)). He also cited to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), 19-A M.R.S. § § 2804, 2961 (2014), and separately argued that a jeopardy order should be entered pursuant to 22 M.R.S. § 4035 (2014). Hamm filed a response addressing these other sources of law. In Seekins's reply, he additionally raised the federal international parental kidnapping statute, see 18 U.S.C.S. § 1204 (LEXIS through Pub. L. No. 114-73).
[¶4] The court held a hearing on Hamm's motion to dismiss in March 2015. Seekins was the only witness. Shortly thereafter, the court entered a written judgment in which it found that Seekins now resides in Maine, that neither Hamm nor the child has ever been to Maine, and that the child has resided in Guatemala with Hamm since her birth. The court dismissed Seekins's complaint because, pursuant to the UCCJEA, the initial child custody determination must be made in the " home state" --which for this child is Guatemala, not Maine--absent a showing that the home state has declined jurisdiction. See 19-A M.R.S. § 1745(1). Seekins timely appealed from the judgment. See 14 M.R.S. § 1901 (2014); 19-A M.R.S. § 104 (2014); M.R. App. P. 2.
[¶5] The District Court's factual findings are not in dispute, and we review the court's determination of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to the UCCJEA de novo. See Gutierrez v. Gutierrez, 2007 ...