In Re: Leeanna B.
A grandmother, a nonparty to a custody action, lacked standing to file a motion for contempt regarding visitation privileges. The Department of Children and Families placed Leeanna, shortly after her birth, with her paternal grandmother, a relative foster care provider. Leeanna remained in the grandmother's care for 17 months. The Superior Court, juvenile division, revoked its disposition of commitment to the commissioner of children and families and ordered guardianship restored to her mother and father. The court ordered that physical custody be granted to her mother under an order of protective supervision and that specific visitation be granted to the grandmother. The order of protective supervision expired and the juvenile case closed with custody orders to remain in effect. The mother brought an action for custody and support in the Superior Court, family division, against the father. The paternal grandmother's motions to intervene were denied. The court also denied the grandmother's motion for contempt alleging that the mother failed to provide her with visitation as ordered by the juvenile division. The family division court rendered judgment granting sole custody of Leeanna to her mother and, sua sponte, reconsidered its denial of the grandmother's motion for contempt and referred that motion to the juvenile division. Following a hearing, the court in the juvenile division found that the mother was not in contempt because she reasonably believed that the orders of visitation had expired when the juvenile case closed. The court concluded, however, that its visitation orders still were in effect and that such visitation was in Leeanna's best interests. The court ordered a schedule of visitation to the grandmother. The mother appealed claiming that the paternal grandmother lacked standing to bring a motion for contempt in the custody case in the family division and that court improperly referred the motion to the juvenile division. The Appellate Court agreed and reversed the judgment. Because the grandmother's motions to intervene were denied and she was not a party to the custody case in the family division, she had no standing to file a motion for contempt in that action. The court in the family division should have dismissed her motion. The judgment of the Superior Court juvenile division was vacated. The case was remanded with direction.