IN RE MADILENE G. R. - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jan 11, 2013

Head Comment: With Concurring Opinion

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Tarsila Crawford and James Widrig, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Justin M. and Lauren B. M.

Attorneys 2:

Daniel Lyn Graves, II, for the appellees, William and Jessica H.

Judge(s): CLEMENT

The biological father of the child at issue appeals the termination of his parental rights and the dismissal of Father and Step-Mother’s petition for custody and counter-petition for stepparent adoption. The petition for termination was filed by the partial guardians who were seeking to adopt the minor child. The trial court determined that there was clear and convincing evidence that Father willfully failed to support the mother for the four months prior to the birth of the child and willfully failed to support the child for the four months prior to the filing of the petition. The trial court also found that termination was in the best interest of the child. We have determined that one ground for abandonment was established by clear and convincing evidence, however, we have also determined that the evidence does not clearly and convincingly demonstrate that termination of Father’s parental rights is in the child’s best interest. Accordingly, we reverse the termination of Father’s parental rights. We have also determined the trial court erred in dismissing Father and Step-Mother’s petition for custody and counter-petition for step-parent adoption and remand this issue for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and this matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.