IN RE A.B. ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Jan 11, 2017

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter, Andre´e S. Blumstein, Solicitor General, and Kathryn A. Baker, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Attorneys 2:

Sherrill Rhea, Crossville, Tennessee, for appellee, M.L.F.

Jonathan R. Hamby, Crossville, Tennessee, for appellee, H.W.B.

Judge(s): SUSANO

This is a termination of parental rights case. On December 17, 2014, the Department of Children’s Services filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of M.L.F. (Mother) and H.W.B. (Father) with respect to their two children, A.M.B. (Child 1) and O.R.F. (Child 2) (collectively the Children). As to Mother, the trial court found clear and convincing evidence of three grounds supporting termination – abandonment by failure to establish a suitable home, substantial noncompliance with permanency plans, and persistence of conditions. By the same quantum of proof, the trial court found that termination of Mother’s rights is in the best interest of the Children. As to Father, the trial court held that DCS had failed to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, the alleged grounds of abandonment by wanton disregard, substantial noncompliance with permanency plans, and grounds applicable to a putative father. Consequently, the court declined to terminate Father’s parental rights. Mother and DCS appeal. We reverse the trial court’s holding as to Father and affirm the court’s termination of Mother’s rights.