Knight v. Ottrix (P)

The circuit court had no jurisdiction to enter an order determining that a father was withholding his consent for his child to be adopted.

The child’s long-time custodians petitioned the juvenile & domestic relations court to either (1) accept the biological parents’ consent to adoption of the child, or (2) find that the parents’ consent was being withheld contrary to the child’s interest of the child. After both parents objected to adoption, the JDR court found that they were withholding consent contrary to the child’s best interests.

But the JDR court lacked jurisdiction to making a finding as to withheld consent, because this was not a case of parental placement for adoption. When the JDR court determined that neither parent consented to the adoption, Code § 63.2-1233(3) required it to deny the custodians’ petition.

In this case, the circuit court’s jurisdiction was dependent upon the jurisdiction of the JDR court. The JDR court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to consider consent in a non-parental placement adoption; accordingly, the circuit court lacked derivative subject matter jurisdiction to review on appeal the JDR court’s ruling.

Order vacated.

Knight v. Ottrix (P), No. 0420-18-1, Nov. 13, 2018. CAV (Petty) from Norfolk (Martin).

Categories: Court of Appeals of Virginia, Opinions, Published


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