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In the Matter of JB

In the Matter of JB, 2015 MT 342 (Dec. 15, 2015) (McKinnon, J.) (5-0, aff’d & rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in dismissing NL, and (2) whether the district court erred in denying NL’s request to appear at JB’s proceeding pursuant to § 41-3-422(9)(a), MCA.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) yes.

Affirmed and reversed

Facts: NL and MH lived together for about seven years and have two biological children together, ages 6 and 8. MH is also the biological mother of JB, age 10. JB has no relationship with his biological father, who has not appeared in this case. NL acted as JB’s father and raised him from eight months old until June 2012, when JB and the other two children were removed from their home by DPHHS.…