final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Duval County. David
Rahn Thomas, Assistant Regional Conflict Counsel, Office of
Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, Jacksonville,
and Crystal M. Frusciante, Assistant Regional Conflict
Counsel, Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional
Counsel, Region One, Sunrise, for Appellant.
L. Metzger, Appellate Counsel, Department of Children and
Families, Jacksonville, for Appellee; David P. Krupski,
Appellate Counsel, Guardian ad Litem Program, Sanford.
appeals the trial court's order terminating her parental
rights to her son A.P. Because the trial court should have
continued the trial after Y.G. consented to A.P.'s
adoption, we reverse.
September 14, 2017, the Department of Children and Families
(DCF) sheltered A.P., an infant less than two weeks old. On
October 9, Y.G. executed a consent to adoption and
relinquishment of rights in favor of the maternal
grandfather. DCF then filed an adoption case plan and
expedited petition for termination of parental rights (TPR)
as to Y.G. On October 31, the grandfather filed Y.G.'s
consent to adoption and a notice of appearance as an
intervenor, and DCF filed an approved relative home study on
filed a motion for continuance of the TPR trial, arguing that
she had a right to private placement of A.P., she consented
to his adoption, an approved relative home study of the
grandfather had been filed, and the grandfather would soon
file a motion to intervene once an adoption home study was
completed. At a hearing November 28, the trial court declined
to wait on a potential motion to intervene to be filed,
denied the motion to continue, and set the single-parent TPR
trial for December 4.
December 3, the grandfather filed a motion to intervene and
transfer custody of A.P. He attached an adoption home study,
which was approved on December 1.
trial the next day, DCF and the guardian ad litem (GAL)
stated that the grandfather's motion was sufficient, but
objected, arguing that a transfer of custody was not in
A.P.'s best interests. The trial court stated that it
would "take in the motion" during "the best
interest part" of the TPR trial. The grandfather moved
to continue the trial so he could participate in discovery,
understand the basis of the objection, and procure witnesses.
The trial court denied the motion to continue. The
grandfather declined the invitation to present his motion as
part of the TPR trial.
then renewed her motion to continue on the basis of the
recently-filed motion to intervene. She argued that she had a
right to consent to adoption, and the grandfather's
motion to intervene required a hearing as to A.P.'s best
interests relevant to the grandfather's adoption.
Additionally, she argued that a brief continuance would not
prejudice A.P., as his permanency would not be affected;
permanency would not be achieved until the father's
rights were terminated, which would not occur until at least
mid-December due to DCF's intended service of notice by
publication. The trial court denied Y.G.'s motion to
continue and conducted the TPR trial, after which it
terminated Y.G.'s parental rights to A.P.
Consent to Adoption
63.082, Florida Statutes, governs proceedings related to a