IN RE C.L.A.C. APPLYING FOR THE INTRAFAMILY ADOPTION OF W.K.C, K.P.C., AND AJ.C.
Appealed from the Twenty-First Judicial District Court In and
for the Parish of Livingston State of Louisiana Suit Number
155306 Honorable Jeffery T. Oglesbee, Presiding
G. Secrease Jay M. Futrell Hammond, LA and Sonja Castella
Bradley Livingston, LA Counsel for Defendant/Appellant C.D.J.
E. Bankston Livingston, LA Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellee C.
Harvey Livingston, LA Counsel for minor children W.K.C., K.P.
C.,, and A.J.C.
BEFORE: GUIDRY, PETTIGREW, AND CRAIN, JJ.
J., the biological mother of the minor children, appeals from
a judgment of the district court terminating her parental
rights and granting the stepmother's petition for
intrafamily adoption of the minor children. For the reasons
that follow, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
and C.DJ. were never married; however, they lived together
for approximately 14 years and had three children, W.K.C.,
K.P.C., and A.J.C. Following their separation, D.G.C. and
C.D.J, were awarded joint custody of the minor children
pursuant to an April 2014 judgment, with D.G.C. designated as
the domiciliary parent. According to the judgment,
C.D.J.'s custodial periods with the children were to be
every other weekend and every Wednesday evening through
Thursday morning. The last time C.D.J, exercised her
custodial periods with the children was August 2014.
on November 14, 2015, D.G.C. married C.L.A.C. Following the
filing by C.D.J, of a motion to enforce custody judgment on
March 16, 2017, C.L.A.C, joined by D.G.C, filed a petition
for intrafamily adoption on April 24, 2017. C.L.A.C asserted
that the consent of CD.J. is not required pursuant to La. Ch.
C art. 1245(C)(2) because CD.J. has refused and/or failed to
visit, communicate, or attempt to communicate with the minor
children without just cause for a period of at least six
continuous months since the custody judgment was rendered in
April 2014. C.L.A.C. further asserted that it was in the best
interest of the children that they be adopted by her.
answered the petition on May 8, 2017, generally denying the
allegations in the petition and stating that she opposed the
adoption of her children. C.D.J, also asserted that she has
attempted to contact the children, and that adoption of the
children by C.L.A.C is not in their best interest. An
attorney who was appointed by the district court to represent
the interests of the minor children also filed a statement
into the record.
matter proceeded to trial on September 12, 2017, wherein the
parties presented testimony and introduced evidence. At the
conclusion of trial, the district court stated that he
"[did] not find [C.D.J.'s] failure to visit with the
children was with Oust] cause for a period exceeding six
months." The district court found that C.D.J, had
opportunities to visit the children but for whatever reason
chose not to exercise those opportunities. Accordingly, the
district court found that C.D.J.'s consent was not
required and that it was in the best interest of the children
that her parental rights be terminated. The district court
further found, based upon the factors in La. C.C. art. 134
and considering the evidence and testimony submitted, that it
is in best interest of the children that the petition for
intrafamily adoption be approved.
district court signed a final decree in conformity with its
oral ruling on September 12, 2017. C.D.J, now appeals from
the district court's judgment, asserting that: (1) the
district court did not have jurisdiction over this matter;
(2) the district court incorrectly applied La. Ch. C. art.
1245(C)(2); (3) the district court erred in finding that her
consent to the intrafamily adoption was not needed; and (4)
the district court erred in finding that the adoption was in
the best interest of the children.
Revised Statutes 13:621.21 abolished Division G and Division
H of the Twenty-First Judicial District Court effective
midnight, December 31, 2014, and provided for the creation of
two new judgeships in their place, Division J and Division K,
respectively, effective January 1, 2015. La. R.S.
13:621.21(B)-(C). The subject matter jurisdiction of Division
J and Division K is limited to family and juvenile matters,
which include ...