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Name: In re M.M.
Case #: D067870
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 09/25/2015

Where home state of Japan refused to discuss dependency case with California court, the juvenile court properly found permanent jurisdiction. The infant minor was detained following a severe incident of domestic violence between the parents which endangered the minor. During a contested jurisdiction hearing, the issue of the UCCJEA arose because the parents had previously resided in Japan, and the minor had dual citizenship. The juvenile court found that it had emergency jurisdiction. At a subsequent hearing, the court again addressed the UCCJEA issue, noting that it had “exhausted” its efforts in attempting to discuss jurisdiction with the family court in Japan, which refused to share information with the court. The juvenile court took permanent jurisdiction, over mother’s objection. On appeal, mother contended that the juvenile court erred when it converted its temporary emergency jurisdiction to permanent jurisdiction under Welfare and Institutions Code section 3421, subdivision (a). The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. Where a home state declines jurisdiction by conveying its intent not to exercise jurisdiction, including refusal to discuss the issue of jurisdiction, California is the appropriate forum. Here, Japan unambiguously and repeatedly stated it was inappropriate for them to communicate with the California court regarding the case. The refusal to discuss the case was tantamount to declining jurisdiction on the grounds that California is the appropriate forum. Therefore, the juvenile court properly found that Japan declined jurisdiction, and the court’s order taking permanent jurisdiction was proper.