Transfer of Adoption Proceeding – Nonfinal Judgment

D.M.G. and T.F.F. v. C.W.S. and R.G.S; C.W.S. and R.G.S. v. D.M.G. and T.F.F., [Ms. 2200427, 2200441, Jan. 7, 2022] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2022). The court (Hanson, J.; Thompson, P.J., and Moore, Edwards, and Fridy, JJ., concur) dismisses as from a nonfinal judgment, an appeal and cross-appeal challenging various aspects of an order entered by the Coosa Juvenile Court (“the juvenile court”) relating to an adoption proceeding. Section 26-10A-24(e), Ala. Code 1975, a portion of the Alabama Adoption Code (“the AAC”), Ala. Code 1975, § 26-10A-1, et seq., provides that, “[o]n motion of [any] party or of [a probate] court, a contested adoption hearing may be transferred to the court having jurisdiction over juvenile matters.” Ms. *1.

The juvenile court rulings in question were entered in response to an order of the Coosa Probate Court (“the probate court”)directing such a transfer. The probate court’s transfer order referenced § 26-10A-24(e), and specified that “the juvenile court was ‘to decide whether there is actual or implied consent under [Ala. Code1975, § 26-10A-9,]’ and ‘whether the best interests of the [child] will be served by the adoption.’” Ms. *4. Accordingly, the court holds

The probate court’s July 2020 transfer order expressly invoked the limited-transfer mechanism of § 26-10A-24(e) and specified that the issues of consent and best interests would be for the juvenile court to resolve. At this point, we have for review only an order of a juvenile court adjudicating those issues and purporting to address certain wholly ancillary matters, such as residual visitation rights of the father and the paternal grandmother, that were not referred to the juvenile court. Because the probate court has not yet undertaken the requisite “further action[s]” envisioned by Ex parte A.M.P., [997 So. 2d 1008 (Ala. 2008)] and the AAC [Alabama Adoption Code], there is not a final judgment of adoption that will support an appeal under § 26-10A-26(a) [Ala. Code 1975].

Ms. *8.

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