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Name: In re Vanessa Q.
Case #: B221331
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 7
Opinion Date: 08/04/2010

Failure to serve notice in compliance with the Hague Convention did not invalidate the court’s jurisdiction where father made a general appearance through counsel. Father was incarcerated in Mexico when the family law court found he had abandoned his three children, who had been living with mother and her husband for more than eight years. Service of the Family Code section 7822 action was done by mail to the prison where he was incarcerated. Father contended that the termination of his parental rights was void because he was not properly served with notice pursuant to the Hague Service Convention. The appellate court rejected the argument, finding that defective service is not fatal to personal jurisdiction if a defendant consents to jurisdiction by making a general appearance in the action. Here, father made a general appearance when his counsel went into court and requested a continuance of the trial until father could appear in person. Having made a general appearance in the family law court through counsel, father consented to the court’s exercise of discretion over him.