Interest of J.O.Annotate this Case
K.M.E. appealed an order extending a guardianship over her biological child J.O. L.O. and S.O. were granted guardianship of J.O. and his stepsister, I.E. L.O. and S.O. were J.O.’s maternal grandparents. K.M.E. was J.O.’s biological mother, and her husband, K.R.E., was J.O.’s stepfather and I.E.’s biological father. Before the petition for guardianship was filed, K.M.E. and K.R.E. left J.O. in the care of L.O. and S.O. “for an indefinite period of time” and did not make plans to resume physical custody. The juvenile court noted K.M.E. and K.R.E. “failed to provide food, shelter, and medical attention to adequately provide for the minor child’s needs since June 1, 2017.” The court took judicial notice of four pending criminal matters with pending bench warrants against K.M.E. and four more against her husband. The court suspended K.M.E.’s rights of custody over J.O. “due to her lack of stability, pending criminal charges, and inability to properly care for and nurture the minor child and to provide a stable living environment.” The court appointed L.O. and S.O. as guardians over J.O. for an unlimited duration under N.D.C.C. 27-20-36. At the same time, L.O. and S.O. sought guardianship and were appointed guardians of I.E. I.E. later returned to K.M.E. and K.R.E.’s home. After K.R.E. petitioned the juvenile court and L.O. and S.O. did not object in the related case, the guardianship over I.E. was terminated. However, with regard to the petition to terminate the guardianship for J.O., at a hearing, J.O. stated he did not want contact with his mother, and wanted to continue living with L.O. and S.O. The court ultimately found K.M.E. did not meet her burden of presenting evidence the circumstances that lead to the guardianship no longer existed. Accordingly, the petition to terminate was denied. After review, the North Dakota Supreme Court found the trial court did not err in extending J.O.'s guardianship; judgment was affirmed.