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Termination of Parental Rights

March 30, 2017

Termination of Parental Rights

CaseIn re Jude D.

Issue:  Was there sufficient proof that termination of parental rights was in the child’s best interests?

Facts:  DCS placed Mother’s children in the custody of Foster Parents. The trial court found clear and convincing evidence that Mother committed severe child abuse against children while in her custody, but that removal was not in their best interest and thus denied Foster Parents’ petition to terminate Mother’s parental rights.

Appellate Decision:  The intermediate court affirmed the finding of abuse but held in a divided opinion that termination was in the children’s best interest. The majority explained that the trial court did not sufficiently consider two of the factors provided in Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(i). Judge Stafford, dissenting, found that the balance was equally balanced in favor or termination and against, which should result in denial of termination under the clear and convincing standard.

Review Granted:  March 8, 2017.

Prediction:  Ben thinks the Supreme Court will rule against termination for the reasons stated in the dissent.