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Court Case Record Ex parte Jennifer Ann HOLLOWAY (IN RE: Michael Gordon Holloway v. Jennifer Ann Holloway). 2150821 UID(faa4)


Ex parte Jennifer Ann HOLLOWAY (IN RE: Michael Gordon Holloway v. Jennifer Ann Holloway). Court Case Record

Court Case Number: 2150821


 
Case Number2150821
Case TitleEx parte Jennifer Ann HOLLOWAY (IN RE: Michael Gordon Holloway v. Jennifer Ann Holloway).
Case TypeCriminal
StateAlabama, AL
CountyAll Counties
CourtCourt of Civil Appeals of Alabama.
Court Address
Phone
Field Date8/26/2016
Close Date

Parties

CounselNameType
Ex parte Jennifer Ann HOLLOWAY (IN RE: Michael Gordon HollowayAppellee/Petitioner
Jennifer Ann Holloway).Appellant/Defendant
Details
On October 23, 2015, Michael Gordon Holloway (“the father”) filed in the Jefferson Circuit Court (“the trial court”) a complaint seeking a divorce from Jennifer Ann Holloway (“the mother”). In that complaint, the father also sought, among other things, an award of custody of the parties' minor son, who was born on September 20, 2015. In his complaint, the father alleged that the parties married on October 18, 2014, and that they separated on June 29, 2015.
In a separate motion for pendente lite relief, also filed on October 23, 2015, the father alleged that the mother had abandoned the marriage and had moved to Mississippi to live with her mother. Neither the father's complaint for a divorce nor his motion for pendente lite relief set forth the date on which the mother left Alabama to live in Mississippi or in which state the child was born.
On November 19, 2015, the mother filed in the trial court an “answer, counterclaim, and motion to dismiss.” In that pleading, the mother alleged that the child had been born in Mississippi and had lived in Mississippi since his birth. Therefore, the mother argued, Alabama was not the child's home state and the trial court could not exercise jurisdiction over issues pertaining to child custody; the mother cited provisions of Alabama's version of the Uniform Child Custody Enforcement Act (“the UCCJEA”), § 30–3B–101 et seq., Ala.Code 1975. Accordingly, the mother moved to dismiss that part of the father's complaint that sought to litigate the issue of child custody in the trial court. The mother did not dispute the trial court's jurisdiction to divorce the parties and to divide their marital property.
In response to the mother's answer, counterclaim, and motion to dismiss, the father filed a “verified response,” in which he stated that he and the mother had been residents of Alabama when he filed the divorce complaint, that he had believed the mother's move to Mississippi was temporary, and that the mother was not a resident of Mississippi. The father also submitted a copy of a Mississippi statute governing Mississippi's jurisdiction to grant a divorce.
The mother then, on January 15, 2016, filed in the trial court a verified motion to dismiss the father's child-custody claims. In that verified motion to dismiss, the mother stated, in short, that the child had been born in Mississippi and that the child had resided with her in Mississippi since his birth. In addition, the mother stated that a custody and child-support action was pending in the Chancery Court of Madison County, Mississippi (“the Mississippi court”); the mother argued that the Mississippi court had jurisdiction over the issues of custody and child support because, she said, Mississippi was the child's home state under the UCCJEA. The mother amended the verified motion to dismiss on February 12, 2016, to submit to the trial court a copy of a pendente lite order of the Mississippi court in which that court determined, among other things, that it had jurisdiction over the issue of the custody of the child.
The father responded to the amended verified motion to dismiss by submitting a copy of a verified motion to dismiss that he had filed in the Mississippi court. In that motion filed in the Mississippi court, the father had argued that the mother had not been a resident of Mississippi for six months before she filed the custody action in the Mississippi court; the father did not address the issue of the Mississippi court's jurisdiction over the child. However, in his response to the mother's amended verified motion to dismiss filed in the trial court, the father argued that, by failing to communicate with the trial court, the Mississippi court had not complied with the requirements of the UCCJEA and that, therefore, the Mississippi pendente lite order was void for that reason.
The trial court set the jurisdictional dispute for a March 8, 2016, hearing at which it considered the arguments of the parties' attorneys. Thereafter, each party filed a brief in support of his or her position on the issue of whether the trial court had jurisdiction over the child-custody issue.
On June 8, 2016, the trial court entered two orders. In the first order, the trial court found that it had subject-matter jurisdiction over the child-custody issue. In its second June 8, 2016, order, the trial court denied the mother's motion to dismiss that part of the father's divorce complaint pertaining to the issue of child custody. The mother timely filed a petition for a writ of mandamus challenging the trial court's June 8, 2016, orders.
“ ‘[T]he question of subject-matter jurisdiction is reviewable by a petition for a writ of mandamus.’ Ex parte Flint Constr. Co., 775 So.2d 805, 808 (Ala.2000) (citing Ex parte Johnson, 715 So.2d 783, 785 (Ala.1998)).
“ ‘ “ ‘A writ of mandamus is an extraordinary remedy that requires a showing of: (1) a clear legal right in the petitioner to the order sought; (2) an imperative duty on the respondent to perform, accompanied by a refusal to do so; (3) the lack of another adequate remedy; and (4) the properly invoked jurisdiction of the court.’ ” '
“Ex parte Punturo, 928 So.2d 1030, 1033 (Ala.2002) (quoting Ex parte Bruner, 749 So.2d 437, 439 (Ala.1999), quoting in turn Ex parte McNaughton, 728 So.2d 592, 594 (Ala.1998)). ‘Subject-matter jurisdiction cannot be waived, and the lack of subject-matter jurisdiction may be raised at any time by a party or by a court ex mero motu.’ 928 So.2d at 1033 (citing Greco v. Thyssen Mining Constr., Inc., 500 So.2d 1143 (Ala.Civ.App.1986)). ‘A judgment issued by a trial court without jurisdiction is a nullity.’ 928 So.2d at 1034 (citing Ex parte Hornsby, 663 So.2d 966 (Ala.1995)).”
Ex parte Siderius, 144 So.3d 319, 323 (Ala.2013).
A circuit court or juvenile court in Alabama may not address an issue of child custody unless the court has jurisdiction under the UCCJEA to make an initial custody determination. B.N. v. Madison Cty. Dep't of Human Res., 151 So.3d 1115, 1119 (Ala.Civ.App.2014). Section 30–3B–201, Ala.Code 1975, provides:
“(a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 30–3B–204, a court of this state has jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination only if:
“(1) This state is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within six months before the commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from this state but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in this state;
“(2) A court of another state does not have jurisdiction under subdivision (1), or a court of the home state of the child has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that this state is the more appropriate forum under Section 30–3B–207 or 30–3B–208, and:
“a. The child and the child's parents, or the child and at least one parent or a person acting as a parent, have a significant connection with this state other than mere physical presence; and
“b. Substantial evidence is available in this state concerning the child's care, protection, training, and personal relationships;
“(3) All courts having jurisdiction under subdivision (1) or (2) have declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that a court of this state is the more appropriate forum to determine the custody of the child under Section 30–3B–207 or 30–3B–208; or
“(4) No court of any other state would have jurisdiction under the criteria specified in subdivision (1), (2), or (3).
“(b) Subsection (a) is the exclusive jurisdictional basis for making a child custody determination by a court of this state.
“(c) Physical presence of a child is not necessary or sufficient to make a child custody determination.”