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Name: In re J.S.
Case #: C066908
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 10/14/2011

Juvenile court erred by denying motion to dismiss dependency where mother consented to minor’s marriage in Nevada. A petition based on physical abuse of the teenaged minor was sustained, and she was placed with her mother with no conditions. The Department subsequently filed a motion to dismiss the dependency due to the pregnant minor’s marriage, which had been consented to by mother. The juvenile court refused to dismiss the petition, opining that court consent was needed for the marriage so there was no basis for emancipating the minor. The juvenile court ordered the minor to remain a dependent and ordered her to remain in her grandfather’s home. Mother and minor appealed. The Department argued that the appeal was moot because the court subsequently dismissed the dependency. The appellate court disagreed, finding that the exit orders depended on a determination that the minor was not emancipated, and therefore the appeal was not moot. The Department also conceded that juvenile court erred in failing to grant the Department’s motion to dismiss based upon the minor’s emancipation by marriage. The appellate court agreed and reversed. The juvenile court never removed the minor from her mother, and did not limit or restrict mother’s control and custody. Mother retained the right to transport the minor to Nevada and consent to her marriage.