IN RE: TIANNA B. - Articles

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Posted by: Chandra Williams on Jul 6, 2016

Head Comment: With concurring opinion.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Brian A. Caldwell, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Myron J. T.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter, and M. Cameron Himes, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Judge(s): BENNETT

The Department of Children’s Services sought to terminate the parental rights of a father who had not seen his child in thirteen years and who had taken no steps to legitimate the child until after the petition to terminate was filed. After a trial, the court found that the grounds of abandonment by willful failure to visit and failure to establish or exercise paternity were established and that it was in the child’s best interest to terminate the father’s rights. On appeal, we conclude that the trial court erred in relying on Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(9)(A) as a basis to terminate the father’s rights, but that the trial court correctly determined that the father abandoned the child by willfully failing to visit as set forth in Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-1-113(g)(1) and § 36-1-102(1)(A)(i). We affirm the trial court’s judgment in part and reverse it in part.