Blount v. Blount

CourtSupreme Court of Nevada
Citation512 P.3d 1254
Docket Number82095
Parties Justin Craig BLOUNT; and Stephanie Blount, Appellants, v. Paula BLOUNT, Respondent.
Decision Date07 July 2022

512 P.3d 1254

Justin Craig BLOUNT; and Stephanie Blount, Appellants,
Paula BLOUNT, Respondent.

No. 82095

Supreme Court of Nevada.

Filed July 07, 2022

Justin Craig Blount, Las Vegas, in Pro Se.

Stephanie Blount, Las Vegas, in Pro Se.

Willick Law Group and Marshal S. Willick and Trevor M. Creel, Las Vegas, for Respondent.



By the Court, STIGLICH, J.

This appeal raises an issue of first impression regarding the registration of foreign child custody orders under NRS 125A.465, part of Nevada's adoption of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). In particular, we must interpret the portion of the statute that precludes a party from challenging the registration if the party fails to do so within 20 days of receiving notice of the request to register and those challenges that "could have been asserted at the time of registration." NRS 125A.465(6), (8). In light of the statute's plain language, the decisions of other jurisdictions, and the commentary to the UCCJEA and another similar act, we conclude that the statute is unambiguous and apply its plain language, which accords with the other authorities. Accordingly, because no party timely challenged the foreign order's registration, we affirm the district court's order confirming the foreign custody order at issue in this case.


Appellant Justin Craig Blount is the father to the two minor children whose custody is at issue in this case. Respondent Paula Blount is their paternal grandmother. When Justin and the children's biological mother, a member of the Hualapai Tribe, were going through a divorce, the Tribal Court of the Hualapai Tribe in Peach Springs, Arizona, awarded temporary custody of the children to the mother. When the mother passed away, the Tribal Court restored custody to Justin, and the children went to live with him and appellant Stephanie Blount, now his wife, in Nevada in 2017. In July 2019, a Nevada district court entered a decree of adoption declaring Justin and Stephanie the children's legal parents.1 We later affirmed the district court's order rejecting Paula's separate petition for grandparent visitation because the Tribal Court still had jurisdiction over such issues. In re Visitation of J.C.B. , No. 76831, 2019 WL 4447341, *3 (Nev., Sept. 16, 2019) (Order of Affirmance).

After this court's decision, in December 2019, Paula petitioned the Tribal Court for grandparent visitation, asserting that the children lived with her for a significant amount of time before moving to Nevada and that Justin had not let her see or talk to the children since they moved. The Tribal Court sent notice of the hearing and motion to Justin's counsel, although the notice named the counsel as the plaintiff rather than Justin. Neither Justin nor his counsel responded to the notice or appeared at the hearing, and the Tribal Court entered an order granting joint custody to Paula and Justin in January 2020.2

512 P.3d 1256

Paula then sought to register the Tribal Court custody order in Nevada and gave notice to Justin as required by statute. Justin's counsel accepted service of the notice on April 6, 2020. On April 30, 24 days later, Justin filed a challenge to Paula's attempt to register, arguing that Stephanie was entitled to, but did not receive, notice of the Tribal Court custody hearing; that the Tribal Court lacked jurisdiction to issue the custody order under the UCCJEA; and that the Tribal Court had entered a superseding custody order granting joint custody to the children's maternal grandparents as well. Stephanie, although not named as a party in the proceeding or given notice of the request to register, also filed a pro se opposition in August 2020. After a hearing—relying on In re Visitation of J.C.B. , No. 76831, and the UCCJEA—the district court concluded that the Tribal Court had continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over all custody issues regarding Justin's children, despite the intervening adoption proceedings. The court did not address Justin's and Stephanie's challenges to the propriety of the Tribal Court's order, instead stating that "those [purported] defects are not for this court to weigh in on and the father may consider appealing the Court's decision." The court therefore gave "full faith and credit" to the Tribal Court custody order. Justin and Stephanie now appeal.


Below and on appeal, Paula argued that because Justin's and Stephanie's challenges were raised more than 20 days after Justin's counsel accepted service of the notice of the registration request, they were untimely and waived under the UCCJEA. And because the arguments were not timely raised, she asserts that the UCCJEA required the district court to register the Tribal Court custody order as a matter of law. Although we could consider Justin and Stephanie's failure to respond to this argument on appeal as a confession of error, see Ozawa, v. Vision Airlines, Inc. , 125 Nev. 556, 563, 216 P.3d 788, 793 (2009) (treating a party's failure to respond to an argument as a concession that the argument is meritorious), we choose to address the issue on the merits, see Huckabay Props., Inc. v. NC Auto Parts, LLC , 130 Nev. 196, 202, 322 P.3d 429, 433 (2014) (noting the court's "policy preference for merits-based dispositions").

The UCCJEA is codified at NRS Chapter 125A. NRS 125A.465(1) provides that "[a] child custody determination issued by a court of another state may be registered in this state" by complying with certain requirements.3 One requirement is that notice of the registration request be served on "any parent or person acting as a parent who has been awarded custody or visitation in the child custody determination sought to be registered." NRS 125A.465(1)(c) ; see also NRS 125A.465(4) (providing that "[t]he person seeking registration of a child custody determination pursuant to subsection 1 shall serve notice ... upon each parent or person who has been awarded custody or visitation identified pursuant to paragraph (c) of subsection 1"). The notice must inform the recipient that a registered order is enforceable in Nevada, that the recipient has 20 days to request a hearing contesting the validity of the registration, and that the "[f]ailure to contest the registration will result in confirmation of the child custody determination and preclude further contest of that determination with respect to any matter that could have been asserted." NRS 125A.465(5).

Echoing the notice requirements, NRS 125A.465(6) explicitly provides that "[a] person seeking to contest the validity of a registered order must request a hearing within 20 days after service of the notice." If a party does not timely request such a hearing, "the registration is confirmed as a matter of law." NRS 125A.465(7). A district court's confirmation of the registration "precludes further contest of the order with respect to any


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1 cases
  • Smith v. State Div. of Welfare & Supportive Servs., 83309-COA
    • United States
    • Nevada Court of Appeals of Nevada
    • 31 Octubre 2022
    ...of that order with respect to any matter that could have been asserted." NRS 130.605(2)(c); Blount v. Blount, 138 Nev., Adv. Op. 52, 512 P.3d 1254, 1257-58 (2022) (strictly construing a similar deadline under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and noting its parallel......

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