THE STATE SUPREME OF THE
FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA
Cite as In re Jae Joong Hwang,
6 FSM Intrm. 331 (Chuuk S. Ct. Tr. 1994)

[6 FSM Intrm. 331]

In the Matter of the
Adoption of JAE JOONG HWANG.

CSSC CA. NO. 7-93

OPINION

Wanis R. Simina
Associate Justice
Chuuk State Supreme Court

Decided:  February 8, 1994

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HEADNOTES
Domestic Relations ) Adoption
     The court has no statutory authority to enter a decree of adoption, pursuant to statute, for an adult.  In re Jae Joong Hwang, 6 FSM Intrm. 331, 331 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1994).

Courts; Judgments
     Any judicial act, that has been done pursuant to a statute that does not confer the power to do that act, is void on its face.  A judgment that is void on its face may be set aside by the court on its own motion.  In re Jae Joong Hwang, 6 FSM Intrm. 331, 331-32 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1994).

Domestic Relations ) Adoption
     An adoption of an adult may qualify for recognition by the court if done under Chuukese custom.  In re Jae Joong Hwang, 6 FSM Intrm. 331, 332 (Chk. S. Ct. Tr. 1994).

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COURT'S OPINION
WANIS R. SIMINA, Associate Justice:
     The Court has this day set aside a Decree of Adoption in the above-entitled matter.  The basis of this action by the Court is that the Court did not nor does it now have jurisdiction to grant a decree of adoption based upon 39 TTC 253 or 254 in this case.

     The petition was based on and the decree was granted pursuant to the above cited code sections.  Those code sections do not allow for the adoption of adults, but rather the code limits adoptions to children.  In re de Leon, 3 TTR 167, 167 (Pon. 1966).  In this case Mr. Jae Joong Hwang at the time of the petition and decree was an adult over the age of 18 years.  Therefore the Court had no statutory authority to enter a decree of adoption based upon that code provision.  Thus the Court also had no jurisdiction to enter the adoption decree.

     Any order, judgment or decree that has been granted based on a statute that does not

[6 FSM Intrm. 332]

confer the power to do the act that is contained in the order, judgment or decree is void on its face.  A judgment that is void on its face may be set aside by the Court on its own motion.  See Prather v. Loyd, 382 P.2d 910, 912-13 (Idaho 1963).

     The parties to the petition are free to refile the petition and attempt to qualify under 39 TTC 4, which recognizes adoptions under Chuukese custom. See Ketari v. Taro, 3 TTR 279, 283 (Truk 1967).

     The Clerk of the Court will cause the accompanying Order Setting Aside Adoption Decree to be served on the parties to the petition through their attorney of record.

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