In the Matter of Adoption of John DoeAnnotate this Case
This appeal arose from the dismissal of a petition for adoption filed by Jane Doe, the long-time domestic partner of Jane Doe I. Jane Doe I is the legally recognized parent of the two children subject to the adoption: John Doe and John Doe I. The magistrate court dismissed on the grounds that "petitioner must be in a lawfully recognized union, i.e. married to the prospective adoptee's parent, to have legal standing to file a petition to adopt that person's biological or adopted child." The magistrate dismissed the petition "sua sponte, without any motion or opposition to the Petition, without prior notice to any of the affected parties, without inviting legal briefing, without any apparent consideration of the Pre-Adoptive Home Study and without hearing." A Final Judgment was entered the same day. Jane Doe moved for reconsideration, but before a ruling on that motion was made, I.A.R. 12.2 compelled her to file a Notice of Appeal to the Supreme Court. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded the district court violated Jane Doe's rights to due process by dismissing the petition without the opportunity to be heard in a meaningful manner. Furthermore, the Court found that Idaho's adoption statutes unambiguously allow a second, prospective parent to adopt, regardless of marital status. Therefore, the Court reversed the district court's judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings.