from the Superior Court in Pima County No. JD20180146 The
Honorable Lori B. Jones, Judge Pro Tempore
Feinman, Pima County Public Defender By David J. Euchner and
Jennifer G. Rochelle, Assistant Public Defenders, Tucson
Counsel for Appellant
Rees, Tohono O'odham Nation Acting Attorney General By
Jennifer L. Espino, Assistant Attorney General, Sells Counsel
for Appellee Tohono O'odham Nation
Jacqueline Rohr, Tucson Counsel for Appellee Brian S.
County Office of Children's Counsel, Tucson By Sybil
Clarke Counsel for Minor
Presiding Judge Vásquez authored the opinion of the
Court, in which Judge Espinosa and Judge Eppich concurred.
VÁSQUEZ, PRESIDING JUDGE.
Holly C. appeals from the juvenile court's dismissal of a
private dependency petition filed by her mother, Elizabeth
F., who sought temporary custody of Holly's six-year-old
son, G.C. Because Elizabeth F. failed to appeal from the
dismissal order, and because we conclude Holly, as a
respondent in the dependency proceeding, has not been legally
"aggrieved" by the dismissal, see A.R.S.
§ 8-235(A); Ariz. R. P. Juv. Ct. 103(A), we dismiss this
appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
Like his father, Brian S., G.C. is an enrolled member of the
Tohono O'odham Nation ("the Nation"). Before
Elizabeth filed her dependency petition, Holly and Brian were
involved in a custody proceeding in the Nation's tribal
court. In October 2017, pursuant to a stipulation by both
parents, that court entered a "final, appealable
order" awarding Brian sole decision-making authority and
primary parenting time. Based on the same stipulation, the
court scheduled a review hearing for December 2017 to
determine whether "criminal charges pending against
[Holly]" had been resolved and "to see if [she]
should be awarded supervised parenting time given the
concerns over her mental state and ability to parent
[G.C.]." On February 20, 2018, the Arizona Department of
Economic Security (ADES) acknowledged Brian's physical
custody of G.C. and filed a motion to terminate his
previously ordered child support obligations.
On March 16, 2018, before the trial court granted ADES's
motion,  Elizabeth filed a dependency petition in
Pima County Juvenile Court in which she alleged Brian had a
history of violent behavior and was neglecting G.C. In a
supporting affidavit, she also alleged that Holly "has a
history of mental health issues that make it difficult for
her [to] parent right now" and, also, "is on
probation for a felony offense." In temporary orders entered
pursuant to A.R.S. § 8-841(F), the juvenile court
ordered the Department of Child Safety (DCS) to conduct an
investigation, including "a safety check of the
child(ren)'s home," but it declined Elizabeth's
request that she be awarded temporary custody.
At the initial dependency hearing in April 2018, DCS told the
juvenile court, "Our report documents that we do not
believe that a dependency exists at this time," and,
after confirming that there were no objections, the court
granted DCS's request to be excused from further
proceedings. At the same hearing, Brian entered a special
appearance for the purpose of challenging jurisdiction and
service and filed a motion to dismiss the dependency on those
grounds. In it, he argued the Nation had "continuing,
exclusive jurisdiction" over G.C.'s custody pursuant
to both the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), 25 U.S.C.
§§ 1901-1963, and the Uniform Child Custody
Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), A.R.S.
§§ 25-1001 to 25-1067. The Nation also appeared and
informed the court it had not yet been properly served with
the dependency petition.
The juvenile court scheduled briefing on Brian's motion
to dismiss and continued the hearing until May 15, 2018. On
that day, after conferring with the tribal court judge who
was presiding over the Nation's custody proceeding and
entertaining argument by the parties, the juvenile court
granted Brian's motion to dismiss for lack of
jurisdiction. On May 29, 2018, Holly filed a timely
notice of appeal from the court's signed minute entry,
which was filed on May 18, 2018. Elizabeth did
See Ariz. R. P. Juv. Ct. 104(A) (notice of appeal
from juvenile court "shall be filed with the clerk of
the superior court no later than 15 days after the final
order is filed with the clerk").
This court has an independent duty to consider its own
jurisdiction, see In re Reymundo F., 217 Ariz. 588,
n.1 (App. 2008); see also State v. Serrano, 234
Ariz. 491, ¶ 4 (App. 2014) (appellate court's
"jurisdiction is provided and limited by law"),
which, in this instance, is limited to appeals by any party
"aggrieved" by "a final order of the juvenile
court," § 8-235(A). "Parties cannot confer
jurisdiction upon this court by agreement, by stipulation, or
. . . by invited error or forfeiture." Serrano,
234 Ariz. 491, ¶ 4 (citations omitted).
We recognize that Holly joined Elizabeth in opposing the
dismissal of the dependency, but, because Holly is the
respondent in a dependency proceeding filed against her and
Brian, we conclude she has not suffered a legally cognizable
grievance from the dismissal of that action. "To qualify
as an aggrieved party, the judgment must operate to deny the
party some personal or property right or to impose a
substantial burden on the party." Jewel C. v.
Dep't of Child Safety,244 Ariz. 347, ¶ 3 (App.
2018) (quoting In re Pima Cty. Juv. Action No.
B-9385,138 Ariz. 291, 293 (1983)). In this dependency
action, the juvenile court ...