In this appeal, the court examined whether a child's biological mother, who voluntarily surrendered her parental rights to allow her own mother, the child's maternal grandmother, to adopt the child, had standing as the child's legal sibling, per N.J.S.A. 9:2-7.1, to seek visitation rights against a non-relative adoptive mother. The court found the biological mother did not have standing under N.J.S.A. 9:2-7.1.
The child was placed with his non-relative adoptive mother following the death of his maternal grandmother. Several years later, a Family Part judge granted the biological mother's request to visit with the child pending his adoption. The visits continued for approximately one year until the child's non-relative adoptive mother adopted the child and stopped the visits. The biological mother filed a complaint to reinstate her visits post-adoption and her complaint was dismissed by another Family Part judge without an evidentiary hearing.
In adhering to the legal precepts expressed in Major v. Maguire, 224 N.J. 1 (2016) and In re D.C., 203 N.J. 545 (2010), the court determined the biological mother lacked standing as a legal sibling and was not entitled to visits under any other legal framework. Accordingly, the court affirmed the Family Part judge's dismissal of her complaint without an evidentiary hearing.