RECENT COURT OF APPEALS RULING REVERSING TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS (TPR) —

In the recent opinion issued by the Court of Appeals in IN RE D.M.; T.M., (March 13, 2014), the Court once again articulated that when a biological parent is unable to care for his or her child, her choice of a fit custodian must be given a weighty articulated consideration by the trial court. T.M., the biological mother of D.M., appealed successfully her termination of parental rights by the trial court.   She argued on appeal that the lower court erred by “failing to give weighty consideration to the third-party custodial arrangement” she set forth as a placement option and in lieu of termination of her parental rights.  She had proposed her mother in law TM2 as a placement option. Although the child had special needs and behavioral issues, TM2 was willing to care for the child and had taken affirmative steps in that direction: she had completed foster parenting classes, undergone home study by the agency, and was licensed as a foster parent. CFSA did not support mother’s choice of placement reasoning that TM2’s work hours, and the child’s special need, and behavioral issues worked against the placement.  The lower court agreed.  The Court of Appeals reversed essentially stating that
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Categories: Family Law and Uncategorized.

DC ADOPTION PROCEEDINGS

In the District, Child and Family Services (“CFSA”) involved adoptions are both complicated in legal requirements as well as in procedural steps needed to reach finalization.  The legal process starts with filing of an adoption petition, which would generate show cause orders to be served on parents.  Upon service, the parents may either enter a written consent, or contest the proceedings. The adoption petitioner then in a contested proceedings has to prove by clear and convincing evidence that either the biological parents have abandoned or failed to provide financial support for the child for a period of six months preceding filing of the petition or that they are withholding their consent contrary to the best interest of the child.  These elements are generally established through factual witnesses such as the social workers, the petitioners, and in some cases the biological parents. The best interest of child legal criteria in the adoption proceedings triggers court’s analysis of the following factors: 1) The child’s gradual and consistent care and overall integration in the foster home environment.  Evidence again that is either presented through fact witnesses, social worker’s observations etc – or established through a therapeutic relationship/treatment. 2) Physical mental and emotional health
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Categories: Uncategorized.