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Father’s attempt to voluntarily terminate parental rights dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction

R.G. v. S.P., 2022AP1876, District 4, 02/16/2023 (one judge opinion; ineligible for publication); case activity

R.G. filed a petition to voluntarily terminate his parental rights to a non-marital child that he had not seen in over seven years. The circuit court dismissed his petition for lack of jurisdiction. R.G. pursued an appeal pro se, arguing that Wis. Stat. § 48.185 supported his petition in Dane County. However, § 48.185 is a venue provision and the circuit court’s personal jurisdiction is controlled by Wis. Stat. § 822.21(1), which provides that jurisdiction exists only if Wisconsin “is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding.” The court affirms based on the undisputed record that R.G.’s child lives in Illinois with the mother and R.G. presented no evidence that the child resided in Wisconsin within six months prior to the filing of R.G.’s petition. (Opinion, ¶4).


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