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Name: In re Alyssa F.
Case #: D041179
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 09/19/2003
Subsequent History: 9/19/03 Modified without change

Mother, father, and the minor were living in Mexico when mother discovered that the minor had been sexually abused. Mother took the minor to California, where The Women’s Resource Center was going to give them a place to stay. However, an employee of the Center told a social worker that mother intended to return to father in Mexico, and the Department filed a section 300 petition. Father was noticed of the proceedings by first class mail, and by a telephone call. Mother failed to reunify with the minor, and parental rights were terminated. Father did not appear at any hearing. Appellants contended on appeal that the judgment terminating parental rights to their daughter had to be reversed because the court had no subject matter jurisdiction because the case was subject to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (The Act) and that father’s due process rights were violated when he did not receive notice in accordance with the Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial matters (the Hague Service Convention). The appellate court concluded that the record is insufficiently developed to enable a reviewing court to determine whether the trial court had continuing subject matter jurisdiction under the Act, and because father was not serviced in accordance with the Hague Service Convention, reversal was required. Neither first class mail service nor a phone call was sufficient under the Hague Service Convention. Therefore, the subsequent orders were void, and a hearing was required to determine whether the court had subject matter jurisdiction.