State Supreme Court overturns termination of father’s parental rights
Father and son spent a few days each month together until December 2007 when the father was arrested for armed robbery and imprisoned until June 2010. The mother visited him in prison on a number of occasions, but brought Deven only one or two times.
The judge, in opposition to the guardian ad litem’s recommendation, terminated the father’s parental rights.
The Supreme Court, however, said a court cannot terminate parental rights unless the petitioning party proves the statutory grounds for termination beyond a reasonable doubt. It agreed with the judge that the evidence in the case was sufficient to trigger the presumption of abandonment but, the jurists said, the finding that there was no communication for a period of at least six months is only the first step in determining abandonment.
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