Michael W. v. BrownAnnotate this Case
The superior court appointed a child’s grandparents as his guardians after finding that the father’s parental rights of custody had been suspended by circumstances because it would be detrimental to the child’s welfare to remove the child from the grandparents’ care. The father appealed. After review, the Alaska Supreme Court concluded the term "suspended by circumstances" in AS 13.26.132 was properly focused on the parent's ability to accept the rights and responsibilities of parenthood rather than on the child's welfare. In this case, the superior court found the father was not an unfit parent and had not abandoned the child, the court erred in finding all of his parental rights of custody had been suspended by circumstances. The Supreme Court therefore vacated the guardianship order and remanded the case back to the superior court with instructions to dismiss the grandparents' guardianship petition.