IN RE STORMIE M., ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Sep 19, 2016

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Jaimee H. Underwood, Gordonsville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Sherry K.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter, Rachel E. Buckley, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Judge(s): GOLDIN

This appeal involves the termination of parental rights with respect to three minor children. The trial court terminated Mother's parental rights on the grounds of abandonment, substantial noncompliance with the permanency plans, persistent conditions, and severe child abuse. The trial court also terminated the parental rights of the putative father of one of the minor children. On appeal, we conclude that considerations of fundamental due process require us to vacate that portion of the trial court's final decree terminating the putative father's parental rights. Concerning Mother's parental rights, we reverse the trial court's determination that Mother abandoned the children by willfully failing to support them in the four months preceding the filing of the termination petition. We also reverse the trial court's finding that clear and convincing evidence established the ground of persistent conditions. However, because clear and evidencing evidence supports at least one ground for termination and that termination is in the children's best interests, we ultimately affirm the termination of Mother's parental rights.