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Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act - Jurisdiction: B.M. v. J.B.R.

B.M. v. J.B.R., [Ms. 2160510, Oct. 20, 2017] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2017). In a decision by Judge Moore (Pittman, Thomas, and Donaldson, JJ., concur; Thompson, P.J., concurs in the result), the court dismisses the father’s appeal from the Fayette Probate Court’s order granting the stepfather’s petition to adopt the father’s minor child. The court concluded that the probate court lacked jurisdiction under the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA), 28 U.S.C. § 1738(a) and was void. Ms. *6. Because “a void judgment will not support an appeal,” the court dismissed the father’s appeal. Ibid., quoting Roux v. Hamby, 914 So. 2d 879, 882 (Ala. Civ. App. 2005)(internal quotations and citations omitted).

The court concluded that the probate court lacked jurisdiction because the Circuit Court of Okaloosa County, Florida had made a custody determination regarding the child in favor of the father and the father continues to reside in Florida. Ms. *3. The court also noted that there was no indication in the record that the Florida court had declined to exercise its jurisdiction. Ibid.