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Division of Youth and Family Services v. H.H.

March 31, 2008

DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
H.H., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.
IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF D.C.H., J.S.H., AND B.C.H., MINORS.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Cape May County, FG-05-09-06.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted January 29, 2008

Before Judges Yannotti and LeWinn.

On June 21, 2006, the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) filed a complaint, under Docket No. FG-05-09-06 (the FG proceedings), seeking (1) guardianship of the minors, D.C.H., born April 29, 1998, J.S.H., born July 31, 2000, and B.C.H., born July 22, 2002, and (2) termination of the parental rights of H.H., their natural mother. On October 25, 2006, an order of default was entered against H.H.

A proof hearing was held on January 8, 2007. At the outset, counsel for H.H. made an oral application to vacate the default, which the judge denied. The court then proceeded with the hearing and rendered a decision terminating H.H.'s parental rights and awarding guardianship of the children to DYFS. An order reflecting that decision was entered on January 10, 2007. On February 7, 2007, the court entered an order denying H.H.'s oral application to vacate the default nunc pro tunc. This appeal followed.

On appeal, H.H raises the following arguments:

POINT I

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE DIVISION'S MOTION FOR DEFAULT AGAINST THE DEFENDANT

POINT II

THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE "BEST INTERESTS" TEST WAS PROVEN BY CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE

(A) THERE DID NOT EXIST CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THE FINDING THAT THE HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHILDREN WAS [SIC] AND CONTINUED TO BE ...


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