SC Unpub

In re: Parental Rights as to G.J.M., F.M., No. 83928, Order of Affirmance (Unpublished Disposition, Sept. 15, 2022)

The State of Nevada Department of Family Services took Maryann B.N.’s children, G.J.M. and F.M., and placed them into the care of fictive kin (A.M.) when G.J.M. and F.M’s younger sibling tested positive for methamphetamine at birth. At the time, the Department also provided evidence that Maryann had neglected the children by routinely leaving them in others’ care. After 18 months, though the children were returned to Maryann’s care, they resided primarily with A.M. until the Department took G.J.M. and F.M. in their custody again after Maryann reportedly hit one of the children in the face and failed to pick them up from school. Maryann was given a case plan to help address her mental health, domestic violence, and substance abuse issues, but a year and a half later, the Department petitioned to terminate her parental rights. The district court granted the petition, finding it to be in the children’s best interest.

On appeal, the district court was found to have properly weighed the reasonable efforts requirement to preserve and reunify the family of a child because it had been the second time the children had been removed from Maryann’s care. Furthermore, Maryann demonstrated parental unfitness through her repeated domestic violence and substance abuse issues. She refused to take responsibility for the conditions that led to the children being removed from her care, failed to substantially comply with the Department’s case plan, and neglected to provide the Department with proof of economic or residential stability. Finally, because the children were thriving in A.M.’s home and A.M. was committed to adopting them, the court decided that it would be in the children’s best interest to terminate Maryann’s parental rights. The judgment of the district court was affirmed.


COA Unpub

Salvatierra v. Salvatierra, No. 83653, Order of Affirmance (Unpublished Disposition, Sept. 12, 2022)

Marlene Salvatierra initiated a divorce action against Walter Salvatierra in January 2020. Based on allegations that Walter committed domestic violence, Marlene was awarded temporary sole legal custody and primary physical custody of their two minor children, with Walter having supervised parenting time at Donna’s House on Saturdays. A return hearing awarded Walter parenting time on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 6:00 p.m., with Walter also being ordered to submit to random drug tests. Marlene later filed a motion to suspend Walter’s parenting time, asserting that he had failed his drug test and that he was convicted of battery constituting domestic violence and attempted child abuse, neglect, or endangerment. Walter did not appear at the trial in May 2021, and Marlene was awarded sole legal and sole physical custody of the two minor children. However, the district court also noted that once Walter was released from prison, he could move to modify the parenting time schedule and begin reunification if he demonstrated six months of sobriety. The decree also divided their community assets and debts.

On appeal, Walter asserted that he did not receive notice of the trial as he had been taken into custody, and was thus unable to present his case regarding child custody and division of community property. However, his assertion was belied by the record, which indicated that Walter was present at the hearing held in November 2020, when the trial date had been set. Furthermore, the order had been mailed to Walter’s address months before he was taken into custody. Thus, the district court was found not to have abused its discretion in entering the divorce decree after Walter failed to appear at trial.

Additionally, Walter did not seek to set aside the divorce decree through a motion or action pursuant to NRCP 60(b), and instead filed the instant appeal. Thus, the district court had no opportunity to consider his argument in the first instance. Because Walter failed to demonstrate that reversal was warranted, the judgment of the district court was affirmed.

Marshal S. Willick
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