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Name: In re F.S.
Case #: B260760
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 01/07/2016

Juvenile court did not err by holding hearing on 387 petition in mother’s absence. Following an incident of domestic violence between mother and father, the juvenile court sustained a dependency petition. After the disposition hearing, the parents were involved in another altercation. Mother was arrested as the aggressor. Subsequently, mother took the minor to Texas in violation of court orders and without notifying the social worker. A 387 petition was filed and sustained in mother’s absence. The minor was ordered removed from mother’s custody. On appeal, father challenged the removal order, arguing that the court should not have held a hearing on the 387 petition in mother’s absence, and that there was insufficient evidence to support the removal order because mother’s absence from the jurisdiction deprived the court of sufficient current information about the minor’s condition. The appellate court rejected these arguments and affirmed. The juvenile court had subject matter jurisdiction and the minor was already a dependent of the court. The only question before the court at the 387 hearing was whether the minor should be removed because the prior dispositional order had been ineffective to protect her. Therefore, this case is distinguishable from Claudia S. and Baby Boy M. Further, there was substantial evidence to support the decision to remove the minor from mother’s custody given the parents’ domestic violence history. There was overwhelming evidence that mother brought the minor to father’s apartment with her and engaged in a violent altercation with him after the court’s original disposition order. Therefore, the court’s prior order that placed the minor in mother’s home was ineffective in protecting the minor, and the 387 petition was properly sustained.