IN RE JIMMY B., JR - Articles

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Posted by: Amelia Ferrell Knisely on May 11, 2016

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Gregory E. Bennett, Seymour, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jimmy B.

Attorneys 2:

Robert L. Huddleston, Maryville, Tennessee, guardian ad litem.

Judge(s): GOLDIN

This is a termination of parental rights case. In May 2015, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) filed a petition in Sevier County Juvenile Court seeking to terminate the parental rights of the child’s father. The juvenile court found by clear and convincing evidence that termination was appropriate on the following grounds: (1) abandonment by willful failure to support; (2) severe child abuse; and (3) persistence of conditions. The juvenile court also found by clear and convincing evidence that termination was in the child’s best interests. Father appealed. We hold that the record does not contain clear and convincing evidence to support termination on the grounds of abandonment for willful failure to support and persistence of conditions, and we reverse as to those grounds for termination. However, we affirm the juvenile court’s findings with respect to severe child abuse. We also affirm the juvenile court’s finding that termination is in the child’s best interest. Because the record contains clear and convincing evidence to establish one ground for termination and that termination is in the child’s best interests, we affirm the juvenile court’s termination of Father’s parental rights.