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Helm v. Helm

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

June 19, 2018

Harold Lucas Helm, appellant,
v.
Ashley Dawn Helm, appellee.

         1. Adoption: Appeal and Error. In an appeal from a denial of consent to adoption, the appellate court's review of a trial court's judgment is de novo on the record to determine whether there has been an abuse of disretion by the trial judge, whose judgment will be upheld in the absence of an abuse of discretion, subject to the best interests of the children.

         2. Adoption: Statutes. The matter of adoption is statutory, and the manner of procedure and terms are all specifically prescribed and must be followed.

         3. Adoption: Parent and Child: Parental Rights. Consent of a biological parent to the termination of his or her parental rights is the foundation of our adoption statutes, and an adoption without such consent must come clearly within the exceptions contained in the statutes.

         4. Divorce: Courts: Adoption. Consent from a district court that has issued a dissolution decree concerning minor children is a prerequisite for adoption of those children.

         5. Courts: Jurisdiction: Adoption. The consent for adoption given by a district court is not a determination of the child's best interests or any other issue pertaining to adoption; such determination rests solely in the county court's exclusive jurisdiction.

         6.__:__:__. The consent provision of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-104(1)(b) (Reissue 2016) contemplates that another court has jurisdictional priority over the custody of the child and that only with the other court's consent will the adoption be allowed to proceed.

         7. Courts: Adoption: Parental Rights. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-104 (Reissue 2016) gives the district court two opportunities to influence an adoption proceeding. It may have already made determinations in past proceedings which are decisive on the issue of adoption or the fitness of a parent. Or, it may be in a position to make a significant contribution [26 Neb.App. 31] to the county court's determination based on its prior experience with the parties.

         8. Courts: Adoption: Legislature. The Legislature has granted the district court the discretion to grant or deny a request for its consent for adoption.

          Appeal from the District Court for Sarpy County: Stefanie A. Martinez, Judge. Reversed and remanded with directions.

          Kelly N. Tollefsen, of Kelly Tollefsen Law Offices, P.C.. for appellant.

          Robin L. Binning, of Binning & Plambeck, for appellee.

          Riedmann, Bishop, and Welch, Judges.

          RIEDMANN, JUDGE.

         Harold Lucas Helm appeals from the order of the district court for Sarpy County that denied his motion seeking the district court's consent to a stepparent adoption. As explained more fully below, we find that the district court abused its discretion in denying Harold's motion on the basis that abandonment was the only issue before the ...


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