Amberley grew up with her
mother, Joann, and her step-father, Charles. They moved around a lot and
it wasn't a very stable home life.
Eventually, Joann and Charles
divorced. Amberley went with Joann, but the situation deteriorated.
Amberley testified that by
the time she was in eighth grade she had been in 27 different schools,
and that Joann did not have a fixed address and was a drug addict. There
were also allegations of sexual abuse from the random men Joann brought
Amberley ran away from her
home in New Hampshire and went to Charles. Charles took Amberley to his
parents, Diana and Richard, who lived in Maine.
Joann reported Amberley
missing and then immediately went on vacation.
Diana and Richard went to
court in Mainer and asked to be appointed temporary coguardians of
The Trial Court found for Diana
and Richard and gave them temporary guardianship of Amberley.
The Trial Court found that
Amberley was in an intolerable living situation and had been inadequately
cared for. Therefore it was in Amberley's best interests to be separated from Joann.
The temporary guardianship
was for 6 months, which is as long as a temporary guardianship can last
under Maine law (18-A M.S.R.A. §5-207(c)).
The Trial Court awarded full
guardianship to Diana and Richard. Joann appealed.
The Trial Court looked to
Maine law (18-A M.S.R.A. §5-204)
and found that there was clear and convincing evidence of a
history of abuse, neglect, and mistreatment.
The Court found that it was
in the best interests of Amberley
to be permanently placed with Diana and Richard.
The Maine Supreme Court
Joann argued that, under the
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA), Maine did not have jurisdiction to decide Amberley's fate
because she was a New Hampshire resident.
However, the Main Supreme
Court found that had resided in New Hampshire for less than six months,
so that could not be considered her home state. And if Amberley did not have a home
state, then Maine could have
jurisdiction if they determined that there was a sufficiently
significant connection between the
minor and the State.
In this case, they found
that since Diana and Richard lived in Maine and had temporary custody,
and that Amberley had lived in Maine in the past, there was a