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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order terminating Mother’s custodial rights but leaving intact her parental rights, holding that the circuit court’s account of the evidence was plausible in light of the record viewed in its entirety. Father was granted sole custody of the minor child in this case. Thereafter, the circuit court terminated the custodial rights of Mother but left intact Mother’s parental rights to the child. On appeal, Father argued that Mother’s parental rights should have been terminated based on the circuit court’s factual findings. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no reason to disturb the circuit court’s dispositional ruling. View "In re B.S." on Justia Law

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Mother Jane Doe appealed a magistrate court’s termination of her parental rights to her child T.G.E. At the time she gave birth, Mother had pending felony drug charges and an active warrant for her arrest; the child’s umbilical cord tested positive for methamphetamine at birth. Following a termination hearing, the magistrate court found termination proper based on neglect and entered an order to that effect on December 8, 2017 (the Order). However, in a subsequent decree (the Decree) issued on December 15, 2017, the magistrate court stated Mother’s parental rights were being terminated based on abandonment. The court also terminated Father’s parental rights however, Father had voluntarily relinquished his parental rights and was not a party to this appeal. On appeal, both Mother and the Department raised procedural issues relating to the conflicting Order and Decree. Subsequently, the Idaho Supreme Court remanded the case for entry of a new judgment terminating Mother and Father’s rights to Child, and stated the Order would constitute the findings of fact and conclusions of law. Mother appealed, contenting the magistrate court erred when it terminated Mother’s parental rights. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the ultimate termination. View "DHW v. Jane Doe" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s order terminating Petitioner’s parental rights to his three minor children despite concluding three months earlier that Petitioner had not abused or neglected them, holding that the circuit court erred by terminating Petitioner’s parental rights without first adjudicating him as an abusive or neglectful parent. Petitioner was serving a prison sentence for first-degree and was not eligible for parole until 2029. In 2018, the circuit court concluded that, although it explicitly found that Petitioner had not abandoned his children at the earlier adjudicatory hearing, the children’s best interests required termination of Petitioner’s parental rights. The Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s judgment, holding that where the circuit court impermissibly terminated Petitioner’s parental rights without first adjudicating him an abusive or neglectful parent, the circuit court lacked the jurisdiction to enter those portions of its order purporting to terminate Petitioner’s parental rights. View "In re A.P.-1" on Justia Law

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Mother Jane Doe appealed a magistrate court’s judgment terminating her parental rights to her minor children. The judgment also terminated the parental rights of the children’s father, who appealed in a separate action. The children were placed in the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (the “Department”) following a March 2016 petition under the Child Protection Act (“CPA”). After the filing of the petition, the parents stipulated to an unstable home environment. In June 2016, the magistrate court ordered the parents to follow case plans provided by the Department. Roughly eight months later, the State filed a motion to terminate both parents’ parental rights based on failure to comply with their case plans and prior neglect. After holding a trial, the magistrate court terminated both parents’ parental rights. Mother argued on appeal that the Department did not make adequate efforts to reunify the family and that the magistrate court erred by finding that the Department’s efforts were reasonable. Unpersuaded by Mother’s arguments, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed termination. View "DHW v. Jane Doe" on Justia Law

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Father John Doe appealed a magistrate court’s judgment terminating his parental rights to his minor children. The judgment also terminated the parental rights of the children’s mother (she appealed in a separate action). Prior to the termination, the children and parents were the subject of a Child Protection Act (“CPA”) proceeding for over two years. When the prosecutors first filed a petition under the CPA, the parents were listed with separate addresses, but were living together. However, the parents ended and rekindled their relationship at various times prior to and during the CPA proceeding. By the time of trial, Father and Mother were permanently separated. The Department became involved in early March 2016 after receiving reports of drug use and neglect involving the children. Prior to this, the Department had received referrals for the family on two occasions in 2013 and 2014. The Department’s investigation revealed that both children had been born premature, exposed to drugs in-utero, and tested positive for methamphetamine at birth. Based on these concerns, the Lincoln County Prosecutor’s Office filed a petition under the CPA in March 2016. In June 2016, the court ordered the parents to follow case plans provided by the Department. Eight months later, the State filed a motion to terminate the parental rights of both parents based on failure to comply with the case plan and on prior neglect. After holding a trial, the court terminated both parents’ parental rights. Father argued on appeal the magistrate court’s finding of neglect was not supported by substantial, competent evidence and that the court erred by not considering how Father’s periods of incarceration affected his ability to comply with the case plan. The Idaho Supreme Court was not persuaded by Father’s arguments and affirmed termination. View "DHW v. John Doe" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals in this grandparent visitation case affirming the judgment of the trial court awarding limited grandparent visitation to Bruce Tipton, the paternal grandfather of the children, holding that the trial court properly considered and applied the best interest factors and applied the proper standard of proof. David and Darlene Morton, the maternal grandfather and step-grandmother of the two children in this case, were granted permanent custody of the children. The family court included a provision for Tipton to have supervised visitation at the Mortons’ discretion. Tipton later filed this petition to modify the grandparent visitation by asking for an established visitation schedule. Ultimately, the trial court granted visitation three times per year with restrictions. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the trial court properly applied the preponderance of the evidence standard and appropriately considered the relevant factors set forth in Walker v. Blair, 382 S.W.3d 862, 871 (Ky. 2012). The Supreme court affirmed, holding that the trial court properly used the preponderance of the evidence burden of proof when assessing whether Tipton’s grandparent visitation was in the best interest of the children and did not abuse its discretion when granting the limited visitation. View "Morton v. Tipton" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the family court denying a miscellaneous petition filed by Plaintiff pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws 15-5-24.1 and 15-5-24.3 for grandparent visitation with two children of her daughter, who was deceased, holding that the hearing justice was within his discretion in denying Plaintiff’s petition. Defendant, who was previously married to Plaintiff’s daughter, was the biological father of the two children at issue in this case and had full custody of the children. Plaintiff filed this petition seeking grandparent visitation alleging that Defendant had refused her visitation requests. The hearing justice denied Plaintiff’s petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the hearing justice did not abuse his discretion in denying Plaintiff’s petition for grandparent visitation. View "MacTavish-Thurber v. Gauvin" on Justia Law

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John Doe (“Father”) and Jane Doe (“Mother”) appealed a magistrate court's judgment terminating their parental rights to two children (“D.E.” and “T.E.”). The magistrate court terminated Mother and Father’s parental rights on the grounds of neglect and found that termination would be in the best interests of the children. Mother challenged the termination of her parental rights to both children, alleging the magistrate court’s decision was not supported by substantial and competent evidence and that her due process rights were violated when a microphone malfunctioned on days three and four of the termination hearing, resulting in no audio recording for those days. Father claimed the magistrate court erred in denying him a jury trial and in allowing admission of a police video over his objection, and that the magistrate court erred in finding that he failed to comply with his case plan and that the magistrate court’s decision to cease reasonable efforts and visitation was unreasonable. Finding that the magistrate court had substantial and competent evidence to terminate Mother's parental rights to the children, and that her due process rights were not violated when there were issues with the courtroom microphones during hearing days three and four, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed as to the termination of Mother's rights. Similarly, the Court found substantial and competent evidence to support termination of Father's rights; the magistrate court's finding that Father failed to comply with the case plan was reflected in that evidence. The magistrate court’s decision to not reinstate reasonable efforts and allow visitation was supported by substantial and competent evidence. Therefore, the Supreme Court affirmed termination of Father's rights too. View "DHW v. Jane Doe & John Doe" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Susan McGarvey’s motion to modify a divorce judgment between her and John McGarvey and Susan’s motion to reconsider that denial, holding that there was no error in the court’s judgment. On appeal, Susan argued that the district court erred by determining that there were no substantial changes in circumstances sufficient to justify a modification of the divorce judgment. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding (1) because Susan failed to provide the Court a transcript of the hearing on her motion to modify, it must be assumed that the court’s findings were supported by competent evidence in the record; and (2) based on those findings, the court did not err in denying Susan’s motion to modify. View "McGarvey v. McGarvey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her child pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii), holding that the court did not err in finding that Mother was unfit to parent and that it was in the best interest of the child to terminate Mother’s parental rights. Specifically, the Court held (1) all of the district court’s factual findings had evidentiary support; (2) the district court did not err in determining that, despite Mother’s efforts, she was unable to protect her child from jeopardy or take responsibility for the child within a time that was reasonably calculated to meet the child’s needs; and (3) the court did not err in concluding that the termination of mother’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Child of Amanda H." on Justia Law