Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Holbrook v. Newell

Court of Special Appeals of Maryland

February 1, 2017

JAMES RICKY HOLBROOK
v.
HANNAH NEWELL

         Circuit Court for Cecil County Case No. 07-C-14-000158

          Graeff, Kehoe, Moylan, Charles E., Jr., (Senior Judge, Specially Assigned) JJ.

          OPINION

          KEHOE, J.

         The issue in this appeal is whether a circuit court has jurisdiction to resolve a child custody dispute between unmarried parents when the parents are living together. In Ricketts v. Ricketts, 393 Md. 479, 501 (2006), the Court of Appeals held that a court had such jurisdiction in a divorce action even if the parents were sharing the same household and even if the court declined to grant a divorce. We will extend the holding of Ricketts to cases where the parents are unmarried and reverse a judgment of the Circuit Court for Cecil County.

         Background

         James Ricky Holbrook and Hannah Newell are the biological parents of K., a minor child. In January 2015, the circuit court entered a consent order which, in addition to other relief, awarded the parties joint custody of K. In September 2015, Mr. Holbrook filed a motion to modify the custody provisions of the earlier order. While that motion was pending, Mr. Holbrook filed an ex parte request for custody, in which he asserted that Ms. Newell was unable to care for K., and that K. had been residing exclusively with him for several months because Ms. Newell did not have a fixed address. The circuit court held a hearing on this petition on May 16, 2016.

         The first witness at the hearing was Ms. Newell's mother. She testified that Ms. Newell was unable to care adequately for K. because of a psychological condition. In his own testimony, Mr. Holbrook stated that K. and Ms. Newell were residing with him so that he could care for K., and so that K. and her mother would have a place to live while Ms. Newell seeks treatment for her health problems. The circuit court then recessed. When proceedings resumed, the following occurred:

THE COURT: Returning on the record of Hannah Newell versus Ricky James Holbrook, Junior . . . . We are conducting an expedited hearing on Pendente Lite Custody.
And the last testimony that I heard from Mr. Holbrook is that the parties are residing together.
Is that correct, [appellant's counsel]?
[Appellant's Counsel]: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Okay, I don't believe that the Court has jurisdiction to continue a hearing in this matter.
I'm going to dismiss the petition.

         Mr. Holbrook filed a motion for reconsideration, in which he presented the same arguments as he does to this Court. The circuit ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.