Owen v. District Court of Sedgwick County, Kansas et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER denying 5 EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER TO GIVE CUSTODY OF CHILDREN TO PARENTS (filed as Motion for Injunctive Relief). Signed by Chief Judge J. Thomas Marten on 2/15/2017. Mailed to pro se party Teresa Ann Owen by regular mail. (mam)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS
TERESA A. OWEN,
Case No. 17-1036-JTM
DISTRICT COURT OF SEDGWICK
COUNTY, EIGHTEENTH JUDICIAL
DISTRICT, ET AL.,
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
DENYING REQUEST FOR CHILD CUSTODY ORDER
On February 10, 2017, plaintiff Teresa Owen filed a pro se complaint against the District
Court of Sedgwick County, Eighteenth Judicial District, the Kansas Department for Children and
Families, and two social workers, alleging federal civil rights claims surrounding the Child in
Need of Care proceedings of her two daughters, conducted in Sedgwick County, Kansas District
Court. This matter is before the court on plaintiff’s Ex Parte Application for [an] Order to Give
Custody of Children to Parents (Dkt. 5). The domestic relations exception, however, divests
federal courts of power to issue divorce, alimony, and child custody decrees. Ankenbrandt v.
Richards, 504 U.S. 689, 703 (1992); Vaughan v. Smithson, 883 F.2d 63, 65 (10th Cir. 1989).
Likewise, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine bars this court’s review of the child custody
determination. Winters v. Kansas Dep’t of Soc. & Rehab. Servs., No. 10-2181-JAR, 2011 WL
166708, at *6 (D. Kan. Jan. 19, 2011) (“The Rooker–Feldman doctrine prevents federal courts
from assuming jurisdiction over cases brought by state-court losers complaining of injuries
caused by state-court judgments rendered before the district court proceedings commenced and
inviting district court review and rejection of those judgments.”), aff’d, 441 F. App’x 611 (10th
Cir. 2011). Because this court lacks jurisdiction to modify or declare void a child custody
decision of the state court, plaintiff’s application is denied. See also Fisher v. Lynch, Case No.
07-2154-KHV, 2007 WL 2225943, at *1 (D. Kan. July 31, 2007) (overruling motion for
preliminary injunction because federal court lacks jurisdiction to enter and modify child custody
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED this 15th day of February, 2017, that plaintiff’s Ex
Parte Application for [an] Order to Give Custody of Children to Parents (Dkt. 5) is DENIED.
s/ J. Thomas Marten
Chief United States District Judge
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