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Name: In re Cristian I.
Case #: B248035
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 03/19/2014

California court properly allowed the minor to return to the biological father in Arizona despite procedural flaws under the UCCJEA. The minor was the subject of a family law custody order in Arizona when mother secretly moved him to California. Father asked the Arizona court for full custody, and it ordered the minor’s return to Arizona. Several days later, the minor was removed from mother and her husband due to severe physical abuse (based on various unsavory acts described by the court as torture), and a petition was filed. California asserted temporary emergency jurisdiction under the UCCJEA, sustained a dependency petition, and placed the minor with his father in Arizona. On appeal, mother challenged the juvenile court’s jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. The appellate court here affirmed the order. The California juvenile court properly exercised temporary emergency jurisdiction over the minor based on the overwhelming evidence of severe physical abuse of the minor by his mother’s husband, and his mother’s inability to protect him. Although the California court did not immediately contact Arizona, as is required under the UCCJEA, any error would have been harmless because it was unlikely that the result would have been different if Arizona had been properly contacted.