Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Doe

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

February 11, 2016

GUARDIANSHIP OF ABIGAIL DOE et al

         Argued September 18, 2015.

         On the briefs and at oral argument:

          Sarah Irving Gilbert, Esq., Elliott & MacLean, LLP, Camden, for appellant father.

         Joseph W. Baiungo, Esq., Belfast, for appellee grandmother.

         Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and ALEXANDER, MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

          OPINION

         GORMAN, J.

          [¶1] The father of Abigail Doe and Bethany Doe[1] appeals from a judgment of the Waldo County Probate Court ( Longley, J. ) appointing the girls' maternal grandmother as limited guardian of the girls. The father argues that the court erred by granting the grandmother guardianship based on both her status as the children's de facto guardian and the temporarily intolerable living situation created by the father. We affirm that portion of the Probate Court's judgment that awards the grandmother a limited guardianship, but remand to the court to comply with 18-A M.R.S. § 5-105 (2015).

         I. BACKGROUND

          [¶2] The court made the following findings of fact, which are supported by competent evidence in the record. Abigail and Bethany are fourteen and nine years old, respectively. When the father and the girls' mother were divorced in 2010, the District Court (Belfast, Worth, J. ) awarded the father and the mother shared parental rights and responsibilities, and awarded the mother the right to provide the children's primary residence. The father, who has served in the United States Navy for about seventeen years, was deployed at sea during the years following the divorce, and the girls lived with their mother in Maine.

          [¶3] When concerns about the mother's substance abuse, mental health, and ability to care for the girls arose in the summer of 2011, the father moved to modify the District Court's order. At the time of the father's motion, he was stationed aboard a ship and the girls were living with the grandmother. In his motion, the father asked the court to " [a]ward residential care of the minor children to [the grandmother]."

          [¶4] In December of 2011, before hearing the father's motion, the District Court ( Tucker, J. ) entered an ex parte order awarding the grandmother temporary custody of the children based upon a finding that the children were in jeopardy in the care of their mother. See 19-A M.R.S. § 1653(2)(C) (2015); see also 22 M.R.S. § 4002(6) (2015). Soon thereafter, the court granted the grandmother's request for intervenor status in the District Court action. See M.R. Civ. P. 24, 111(c).

          [¶5] After conducting a hearing in April of 2012 on the father's motion to modify, the District Court ( Sparaco, J. ) awarded the father sole parental rights and responsibilities, s ee 19-A M.R.S. § 1657(1)(A) (2015), but also noted that the father intended for the children to continue to reside with the grandmother; the court encouraged the father to make guardianship arrangements with the grandmother:

[The father] intends to and can make independent guardianship arrangement for the children while he is away through the Navy's Family Care Plan. [The father] has a good relationship with [the grandmother]. If awarded sole parental rights and responsibilities, [the father] intends to provide for the children to remain residing with [the grandmother] while he is away.

          [¶6] This order, dated April 19, 2012, was the last order concerning these children issued by the District Court. Notwithstanding the District Court's advice, the father never created a guardianship arrangement through the Navy's Family Care Plan, nor did he petition the Probate Court to make the grandmother the guardian of his children. Instead, the father ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.