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  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by debbiegarcia36 View Post
    I am 99% sure Bonnie is Mark's bio Mother. Marks father remarried so he has a step-mother. I believe Scott an Mark are full brothers.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk
    Thanks...it gets confusing at times.

  2. #77
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    Just an FYI: social services and GAL will still be a present force in this matter. Social services even recommended and supported Mary to take the girls to CT permanently. With that said, the paternal side still has a battle in regards to the the adoption by Mark's brother.

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oregonmama View Post
    She has physical custody, not legal custody yet.
    Guardianships give both legal and physical custody to the guardian. However, the courts maintain jurisdiction over the case, unlike with an adoption. And there can be conditions for the guardianship that are set. Such as keeping the child in the state unless there is a court order.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oregonmama View Post
    Just an FYI: social services and GAL will still be a present force in this matter. Social services even recommended and supported Mary to take the girls to CT permanently. With that said, the paternal side still has a battle in regards to the the adoption by Mark's brother.
    You're right. And that's good. Because although guardianships don't terminate parental rights, and still allow the parent to consent to an adoption, the law surrounding guardianships and adoption in Florida is the best interest standard. So even if Mark consents to the kids being adopted by his brother, the brother will not automatically be granted the right to adopt. The best interests of the kids will be considered, even though it appears that Florida favors adoptions over guardianships and the parents' wishes regarding placement and/or adoption are very important.

    With regard to what's considered as to the kids best interests, here are some examples:

    Who has been caring for them? It appears they've been with grandma for a year and half almost.

    Who can provide stability? If they go with the brother, they will also have to move - to Minnesota.

    Who are they attached to? Who do they want to live with?

    Who has shown interest in their care? I don't think the brother has been involved thus far, right?

    Who is more likely to foster a relationship with the other side of the family? I don't have facts to say.

    But all of that will be considered.

    The opinions of the GAL an social services will also be super important. It would be unlikely, IMO, that the court would go against their opinions, unless favoring adoption is much more important in Florida than I think. (But a case below makes me feel that may not be the case).

    His parental rights would indeed have to be severed for their to be an adoption. But he has to consent to that and his consent can be conditional on who is adopting.

    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/...0039.6221.html

    http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/...0063/0063.html

    Here is a case that's very similar:

    2015 ADOPTION AND CHILD WELFARE CASE LAW UPDATE 2015 ADOPTION AND CHILD WELFARE CASE LAW UPDATE
    Directed Consent
    In re Adoption of K.A.G, 152 So. 3d 1271 (5th DCA 2014).Background - After father-killed mother, DCF placed the child in custody of the maternalaunt. Father executed written consent for paternal grandmother to adopt. (conditionalconsent to parental grandmother) Aunt filed a counter petition to adopt in paternalgrandmother's 63.087 adoption proceeding. Court granted paternal's grandmotherMotion to Strike. Aunt's subsequent motion to intervene was denied. Trial courtdismissed paternal grandmother's petition because there was not clear and convincing 2evidence adoption was in best interest. Court relied on considerations such as thechild's needs and bonding with caregiver as if it were an intervention.Holding - Appellate Court found it was error to dismiss paternal grandmother's petition toadopt the child because the trial court failed to determine whether the father's consentwas valid. The trial court erred when it required the grandmother to prove by clear andconvincing evidence that allowing her to adopt the child served the best interest of thechild, as the preponderance of the evidence standard applied. Court has authority toappoint guardian ad litem. Appellate court found that Father's consent was conditional topaternal grandmother and if the trial court found the adoption by the paternalgrandmother was not in the best interest of the child, the father's consent to histermination of parental rights is deemed withdrawn.
    https://clarielaw.com/images/uploads...e_Rev-2015.pdf

    A child's best interests must be at the forefront when the court considers an adoption. See § 63.022(2), Fla. Stat. (2013). Our standard of review in a termination of parental rights case is highly deferential. N.L. v. Dep't of Children & Family Servs., 843 So.2d 996, 999 (Fla. 1st DCA 2003). A trial court's finding of clear and convincing evidence will not be overturned unless it may be said that, as a matter of law, no one could reasonably find such evidence to be clear and convincing. Kingsley v. Kingsley, 623 So.2d 780, 786-87 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993); L.F. v. Dep't of Children & Families, 888 So.2d 147, 148 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004) (finding that "[w]here a trial court has found that there is clear and convincing evidence supporting a termination of parental rights, such findings enjoy a presumption of correctness and will not be overturned unless clearly erroneous and lacking evidentiary support"). We review a judgment of adoption for substantial, competent evidence. Noonan v. Snipes, 569 So.2d 1381, 1381 (Fla. 2d DCA 1990).Here, the trial court dismissed Grandmother's petition because it "[did] not find by clear and convincing evidence that the father's parental rights should be terminated pending adoption by the paternal grandmother." Grandmother and Father contend that the trial court applied an erroneous "best interests" standard utilizing section 63.082(6), thereby disregarding Father's constitutional right to select an adoptive parent for Child. They argue that the trial court should have considered only Grandmother's fitness and whether her home was suitable when making a best interests determination.

    [T]he petition for adoption should be determined on the basis of the fitness of a petitioner who is petitioning to adopt the child and whether the adoptive home that would be provided for the child by that petitioner is suitable for the child so that the child can grow up in a stable, permanent, and loving environment. It is within those criteria that the determination as to the best interests of the child is to be made with regard to an adoption petition.

    The trial court had before it two separate questions: (1) whether Father's parental rights could be terminated based upon his consent; and (2) if so, was adoption by Grandmother in Child's best interests. Different evidentiary burdens of proof apply to each determination. The former determination on "termination of parental rights" must be proven by clear and convincing evidence, while the latter, "best interests determination," is to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. Compare § 63.089(3), Fla. Stat. (2013) (requiring that "a judgment terminating parental rights pending adoption" be determined "by clear and convincing evidence"), with Hack v. Janes, 878 So.2d 440, 444 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004) (stating that absent legislation to the contrary, the "preponderance or greater weight of the evidence [standard] is the generally accepted burden of proof in civil matters"). Here, the trial court required Grandmother to prove by clear and convincing evidence that allowing her to adopt served the best interests of Child. This was error.Finally, we briefly consider several issues that may reoccur when this matter is again reconsidered by the trial court. The trial court concluded that it had no authority to appoint a guardian ad litem for Child in this adoption proceeding. We disagree. Section 63.022(4)(k) provides: "In all matters coming before the court under this chapter, the court shall enter such orders as it deems necessary and suitable to promote and protect the best interests of the person to be adopted." We believe this statute authorizes the trial court, in its sound discretion, to appoint a guardian ad litem for a child in an adoption proceeding. In addition, courts have the inherent authority to protect children by appointing guardians ad litem when appropriate. See Simms v. State, Dep't of Health & Rehabilitative Servs., 641 So.2d 957, 960-61 (Fla. 3d DCA 1994) (citing James v. James, 64 So.2d 534, 536 (Fla. 1953)).

    Next, we agree with the trial court that Father's consent to termination of his parental rights was not unconditional, but rather, was conditioned on the trial court granting Grandmother's petition to adopt Child. If the trial court concludes that the adoption by Grandmother is not in Child's best interests, Father's consent to the termination of his parental rights is deemed withdrawn. Finally, we appreciate the trial court's concern that it was not able to consider the same evidence in the adoption proceeding as it would be able to consider in the dependency and termination proceeding. To some extent, those concerns have been addressed by the recent adoption of Florida Family Law Rule of Procedure 12.003, which allows a court to consolidate as many issues as is practical in adoption and dependency/termination proceedings and to conduct joint hearings or trials of any issues in related family cases. See In re Amendments to the Fla. Rules of Judicial Admin., 132 So.3d 1114 (Fla.2014) (adopting rule 12.003, effective April 1, 2014). This rule, which was not in effect at the time this matter was considered initially, should alleviate many of the concerns expressed by the trial judge.
    https://www.leagle.com/decision/inflco20141226045

    That case basically shows that here:

    1. Mark can consent to having his parental rights terminated and his brother adopt, but if the court finds his brother is not suitable placement, his consent to terminating his parental rights is deemed withdrawn.
    2. The court will use the preponderance of the evidence standard to determine whether adoption by his brother should occur. That is the easiest standard to meet.
    3. However, the best interest standard is what determines whether the adoption should occur - so by a preponderance of the evidence, is it in the child's best interest to be adopted by the brother?
    4. The guardianship/dependency court cases can be consolidated. So while in previous adoption cases the GAL's and social services were excluded from the hearing, now they're not and any and all evidence that would come out in those other cases may be considered when deciding the adoption request.
    5. The court has the power to appoint an guardian instead of allowing an adoption.

    I feel pretty good about grandma's chances of keeping the kids. Hopefully her age and sick husband and finances won't be too much of an obstacle. If the kids are happy and secure and want to stay with her, I think they will.

    I;m going to post this in the legal thread as well.
    Last edited by gitana1; 09-28-2017 at 10:26 PM.
    For Elizabeth, a minor child, a victim. Thank God she is home!

    *Gitana (means "Gypsy girl"). Pronounced "hee tah nah."

  4. #79
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    How is MS paying for all the attornies, fees and anything else pertaining to the girls, girls care, adoption etc? This would not be part of the murder case so i do not see the state picking up the bill. Is he promising “them” (attornies, investigators, family members and others) monies from any future insurance money the girls may inherit? Thanks

  5. #80
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    Gitana1, thanks so much for the very informative post. That spelled everything out for us.

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownRice View Post
    Gitana1, thanks so much for the very informative post. That spelled everything out for us.
    Always, always, always glad to read Gitana's input!

  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laughing View Post
    Always, always, always glad to read Gitana's input!
    Aww. Thanks guys! Nice to hear.
    For Elizabeth, a minor child, a victim. Thank God she is home!

    *Gitana (means "Gypsy girl"). Pronounced "hee tah nah."

  8. #83
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    So I guess maybe it should have been filed earlier...
    I was hoping they'd be able to move before summer was over.
    A good parent (even if INNOCENT) would not want their children around for trial.
    It'd be different if they were babies but it will be all over the news... school... everywhere.

  9. #84
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    It’s been a while since I kept up with this case - I’d appreciate if someone can answer a couple of questions:

    • Have there been any petitions to terminate M’s parental rights, and has the court ruled on this?

    • What is the status of M’s criminal case?

    • When is the trial?

    • If I understand correctly, the grandmother has custody of the kids, but she is not a permanent conservator or guardian?

    • Mark’s brother has intervened in the child welfare case to adopt the kids with Mark’s consent?

    I read gitana’s comments - and I don’t know Florida law, but in my state a “consent to adopt” comes in the form of a “relinquishment” of parental rights; and while the parent can designate their preference for adoptive parents, the relinquishment is not conditional on the parental preference being followed.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by minor4th View Post
    It’s been a while since I kept up with this case - I’d appreciate if someone can answer a couple of questions:

    • Have there been any petitions to terminate M’s parental rights, and has the court ruled on this?

    • What is the status of M’s criminal case?

    • When is the trial?

    • If I understand correctly, the grandmother has custody of the kids, but she is not a permanent conservator or guardian?

    • Mark’s brother has intervened in the child welfare case to adopt the kids with Mark’s consent?

    I read gitana’s comments - and I don’t know Florida law, but in my state a “consent to adopt” comes in the form of a “relinquishment” of parental rights; and while the parent can designate their preference for adoptive parents, the relinquishment is not conditional on the parental preference being followed.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Hi Minor.

    I think in Florida consent to adopt is the same as consent to relinquishment. But read the cases I cited. That consent is withdrawn and no relinquishment will occur if his preferences over adoption aren't agreed to. So in Florida it is conditional. Very strange and threw me for a loop at first.

    So i think the consent to adopt goes along with the brother's petition to intervene and adopt. There have been no rulings on that yet.

    I don't know the status of the criminal cases. Or when the trial is.

    The maternal grandmother is indeed the permanent guardian.

    Mark's brother has intervened with his consent. They're trying to take back custody and prevent her from leaving the state with the kids (although they'd be going to Minnesota if he was allowed to adopt).
    For Elizabeth, a minor child, a victim. Thank God she is home!

    *Gitana (means "Gypsy girl"). Pronounced "hee tah nah."


  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by gitana1 View Post
    Hi Minor.

    I think in Florida consent to adopt is the same as consent to relinquishment. But read the cases I cited. That consent is withdrawn and no relinquishment will occur if his preferences over adoption aren't agreed to. So in Florida it is conditional. Very strange and threw me for a loop at first.

    So i think the consent to adopt goes along with the brother's petition to intervene and adopt. There have been no rulings on that yet.

    I don't know the status of the criminal cases. Or when the trial is.

    The maternal grandmother is indeed the permanent guardian.

    Mark's brother has intervened with his consent. They're trying to take back custody and prevent her from leaving the state with the kids (although they'd be going to Minnesota if he was allowed to adopt).
    According to media, NBC 2 News WBBH, Aug 15, 2017, Scott Sievers lives in Missouri. Why would he then be taking the girls to Minnesota IF he gets to adopt?

    Also, many many months ago, media said that Mark Sievers brother was an attorney, then was studying to be an attorney. Does anyone know?

    Edit....if the SS I googled is right, he is an attorney in MN....must be new?

    Just thinking out loud.....how much has he really seen the girls and been in their lives?

    On Ipad so I cannot link the above article...sorry
    Last edited by MsJosie; 10-08-2017 at 05:42 PM.

  12. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by MsJosie View Post
    According to media, NBC 2 News WBBH, Aug 15, 2017, Scott Sievers lives in Missouri. Why would he then be taking the girls to Minnesota IF he gets to adopt?

    Also, many many months ago, media said that Mark Sievers brother was an attorney, then was studying to be an attorney. Does anyone know?

    Edit....if the SS I googled is right, he is an attorney in MN....must be new?

    Just thinking out loud.....how much has he really seen the girls and been in their lives?

    On Ipad so I cannot link the above article...sorry
    Because I made a mistake and wrote Minnesota instead of Missouri.
    For Elizabeth, a minor child, a victim. Thank God she is home!

    *Gitana (means "Gypsy girl"). Pronounced "hee tah nah."

  13. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by gitana1 View Post
    Hi Minor.

    I think in Florida consent to adopt is the same as consent to relinquishment. But read the cases I cited. That consent is withdrawn and no relinquishment will occur if his preferences over adoption aren't agreed to. So in Florida it is conditional. Very strange and threw me for a loop at first.

    So i think the consent to adopt goes along with the brother's petition to intervene and adopt. There have been no rulings on that yet.

    I don't know the status of the criminal cases. Or when the trial is.

    The maternal grandmother is indeed the permanent guardian.

    Mark's brother has intervened with his consent. They're trying to take back custody and prevent her from leaving the state with the kids (although they'd be going to Minnesota if he was allowed to adopt).
    Thanks for the info. I don’t see the Court giving the kids to Mark’s brother.

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