IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF: JR, Minor Child. TINA ESHLEMAN, Appellant (Petitioner),
RANDY ROSENBERG and JENNIFER ROSENBERG, Appellees (Respondents)
from the District Court of Laramie County. The Honorable
Steven K. Sharpe, Judge.
Appellant: Carrol S. Nelson of Priority Legal, LLC, Cheyenne,
Ad Litem: No appearance.
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.
[¶1] Tina Eshleman, the maternal aunt of
JR, filed petitions for temporary and permanent guardianship
of the child. After a hearing on her petition for permanent
the district court concluded that she had not established
that Mother and Father were unfit parents and denied her
petition. Ms. Eshleman appeals and we affirm.
[¶2] Did the district court correctly find
that Ms. Eshleman did not establish that Mother and Father
[¶3] JR was born on April 2, 2013, to
Jennifer and Randy Rosenberg (Mother and Father). On March
27, 2014, Mother left JR in the care of Ms. Eshleman,
Mother's sister and the Appellant here. Ms. Eshleman
filed a petition for emergency guardianship on April 25,
2014, and a petition for permanent guardianship on April 29,
2014, and was appointed temporary guardian. A full
evidentiary hearing on the petition for permanent
guardianship was held on May 20, 2015.
[¶4] At that hearing, Ms. Eshleman presented
very little evidence as to Father. She presented evidence
regarding Mother's past behavior, but presented little
evidence as to her current fitness as a parent. Ms. Eshleman
testified that Mother had struggled to raise her children,
that she does not live with any of her other three children,
that she used methamphetamine in the past, that she has a
long history of drug use, and that she served time in prison
in the past year. Ms. Eshleman testified that she had
concerns with JR's care while she was with Mother: JR did
not receive proper nutrition, she was not clean when she was
given to Ms. Eshleman by Mother in March of 2014, and Ms.
Eshleman questioned whether she had been molested. She also
testified that neither Mother nor Father attempted to contact
or financially support JR while she was in Ms. Eshleman's
care from March of 2014 through May of 2015. Ms. Eshleman
also offered evidence that JR received excellent care while
living with her and that JR had been thriving.
[¶5] Mother and Father, who appeared pro
se, testified that they currently reside in Spokane,
Washington. Mother testified that she was pregnant with her
fifth child at the time of the hearing and was a stay-at-home
mom. She testified that Father was a cook at a local
restaurant, and that he made a sufficient amount of money to
pay their bills and allow Mother to stay home. She admitted
to using methamphetamine in the past and to serving 242 days
in jail for attempted robbery. She also testified that she
had made mistakes in the past, but that her life was now on
track, and she was presently clean and not using drugs.
Father testified that while he did not have custody of his
other minor children, he remained involved in their lives and
had been working to make up arrears in child support
payments. He also testified that he previously used both
methamphetamine and marijuana, but that he had stopped using
drugs and did not drink.
[¶6] After the hearing on the matter, the
district court ruled that Ms. Eshleman failed to establish by
a preponderance of the evidence that Mother and Father are
unfit as parents. Ms. Eshleman timely appealed.