Petition of J.N., 2022 COA 69

In this case, a father moved to vacate various juvenile court orders under C.R.C.P. 60(b)(3), specifically an order granting APR to the child’s stepfather entered in 2007, based upon improper service by publication. The Court of Appeals determined that, because father did not receive proper notice, the entry of these orders violated his due process rights. The Court of Appeals based this decision on the fact that the department’s motion seeking service by publication failed to describe any efforts to obtain personal service on the father, or to explain why such efforts would have been futile as required by CRS 19-3-503(8)(b) and C.R.C.P. 4(g), and because the record does not support a finding of diligent efforts by the department.

Practice Tip: If you, as GAL or Counsel for Youth, believe the Department has failed to make diligent efforts to name the father of a child and personally serve this individual, consider objecting to any motion to name an “Unknown Father” or “John Doe” and/or the department’s attempts to proceed via publication. If you obtain information about a possible father subsequent to service by publication, encourage the department to conduct diligent efforts, name and personally serve the individual, and file motions requiring the department to do so if necessary.

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