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Division of Youth and Family Services v. D.L. and M.M.K

February 1, 2011

DIVISION OF YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
D.L. AND M.M.K., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS. IN THE MATTER OF A.R.K.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Passaic County, Docket Nos. FN-16-117-06 and FG-16-104-08.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued September 21, 2010

Before Judges Carchman and Waugh.

Defendant M.M.K. appeals from a November 18, 2009 order of the Family Part terminating his right to visit with his son, A.R.K. Defendant asserts that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to enter the order. In addition, he claims that even if the court did have jurisdiction, its decision was in error. We now dismiss the appeal as moot.

We briefly set forth the relevant facts as well as the procedural posture of this appeal to place our determination in context.

Defendant and D.L.*fn1 are the birth-parents of A.R.K., born April 19, 2004. For reasons not relevant to the narrow issue before us, plaintiff New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) filed a guardianship complaint against defendant and D.L. resulting in a judgment granting guardianship and terminating defendant's and D.L.'s parental rights. While the appeal was pending, we stayed the judgment and ordered that "[v]isitation, as it existed prior to the entry of judgment, is restored pending our disposition of the appeal. The filing or prosecution of any adoption proceeding is also stayed. The judgment under review is not otherwise stayed." (The March 5th order.) We denied DYFS' motion for reconsideration.

On August 11, 2009, defendant filed a motion to supplement the record with regard to the appeal from the initial guardianship judgment. In an order dated September 1, 2010, we denied this motion "without prejudice to the right to seek compliance with [the March 5th order] in the Family Part." We further noted that "[j]urisdiction over that issue is conferred to the Family Part judge."

DYFS then moved in the Family Part seeking the following relief:

1. Ordering that [defendant's] weekly supervised visits with [A.R.K.] take place at the Division office.

2. Prohibiting [defendant] from undressing [A.R.K.] during the visits or from videotaping or recording the visits.

3. Restraining [defendant] from threatening Division personnel.

4. Restraining [defendant] from any contact with [A.R.K.'s] foster parents.

5. Ordering that [defendant] immediately return all confidential Division records, including but not limited to psychological evaluations, to the Division.

6. Restraining [defendant] from the Division office except for the purpose of attending ...


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