Case Law Review: Defaults, One-Parent Findings, Swahili Consents to Adoption, Paternity Standing, and TPRs for Chronic Mental Illness

(1) You can only default at an advisory or trial, not a pretrial or calendar call. J.E. v. DCF, — So.3d —-, 2012 WL 1889781 (Fla. 2nd DCA) (haven’t we learned this by now?).

(2) In M.W. v. DCF, — So.3d —-, 2012 WL 1889783 (Fla. 2nd DCA) (so close), the mother and father were TPR’d. The mother’s case was Jimenez’ed, and the father’s TPR was reversed on appeal. The mother then made a motion to set aside her TPR for failure to make one-parent findings under 39.811. She may have been onto something there, except that the father surrendered during the pendency of her appeal, rendering it moot.

(3) Obtaining a consent to adoption in a language the mother does not speak is sufficient allegation to warrant a full evidentiary hearing for relief from adoption judgment. F.R. v. Adoption of Baby Boy Born November 2, 2010, — So.3d —-, 2012 WL 1813520 (Fla. 1st DCA) (

(4) Paternity case facts:

  • Mother’s husband: not on the birth certificate, not claiming the child, surrendered his rights
  • (Purported) biological father: claims a relationship and wants rights
  • Mother: previously surrendered her rights, objects to bio-father’s standing
  • Custodians: foster parents who want to adopt
  • Others: DCF and GAL who support the bio-father’s right to assert paternity

The trial court denied the bio-father a hearing to establish his standing. The Fourth DCA reversed. J.T.J. v. N.H., — So.3d —-, 2012 WL 1108514 (Fla. 4th DCA).

(5) Eight years of schizophrenia treatment noncompliance is sufficient for an expedited TPR under 39.806(1)(c). D.B. v. DCF, — So.3d —-, 2012 WL 1934602 (Fla. 4th DCA).

(6) I’m choosing not to link to the case that reverses a permanent guardianship order for lack of appropriate notice to the parent because after about 90 appellate cases stating that exact legal point it’s just embarrassing for everyone involved.


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