Articles Posted in Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding that Mother’s minor child was in jeopardy pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4035, holding that there was competent evidence in the record to support the court’s determination that the child was in circumstances of jeopardy. Specifically, the Court held (1) there was competent evidence to support the court’s finding that the jeopardy Mother presented to the child was prospective and not just historical; and (2) there was evidence that poor management of the child’s diabetes had bene a chronic problem and that Mother continued to expect the child to manage his diabetes without adequate supervision or assistance. View "In re Child of Angela H." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her child, holding that the record supported the finding of parental unfitness to the standard of clear and convincing evidence. Specifically, the Court held (1) the district court’s factual findings were fully supported by the record; (2) the district court did not err in finding that Mother remained unable to protect the child from jeopardy or take responsibility for him within a time reasonably calculated to meet his needs; and (3) the court did not err or abuse its discretion in determining that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Child of T'Mara C." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court finding circumstances of jeopardy to Mother’s newborn child’s health and welfare pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4002(6)(A)-(B), 4035(2), holding that the record evidence supported the court’s finding and determination of jeopardy. Specifically, the Court held (1) contrary to Mother’s contentions on appeal, the district court’s findings as to Mother’s inability adequately to care for the child and to make safe decisions with regard to necessary health care were supported by competent evidence in the record; and (2) therefore, the district court did not err in finding that the child was in circumstances of jeopardy. View "In re Child of Tiffany F." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Father’s parental rights to his two children, holding that the evidence supported the court’s findings and discretionary determinations. Specifically, the Court held (1) there was competent evidence in the record to support the trial court’s conclusion that Father was unable to protect his children from jeopardy and these circumstances were unlikely to change within a time reasonably calculated to meet the children’s needs and that Father was unwilling or unable to take responsibility for the children within a time reasonably calculated to meet the children’s needs; and (2) the evidence supported the court’s determination that termination of Father’s parental rights was in the children’s best interests. View "In re Children of Benjamin D." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her child, holding that there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the court’s findings and that there was not error or abuse of discretion in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Court held (1) the record evidence supported the district court’s factual findings of parental unfitness, as well as its discretionary determination that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest; and (2) the court did not err or abuse its discretion in finding at least one ground of parental unfitness and that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Child of Maranatha K." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her youngest child, holding that there was no abuse of discretion in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Court held (1) there was sufficient evidence to support the court’s finding of parental unfitness, and the court did not err in its conclusion that Mother was unable to protect the child from jeopardy or take responsibility for him within a time reasonably calculated to meet the child’s needs; and (2) Mother received effective assistance of counseling during the hearing on the termination of her parental rights. View "In re Child of Kimberlee C." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Mother’s parental rights to her child, holding that there was no abuse of discretion in the proceedings below. Specifically, the Court held (1) there was competent evidence to support the district court’s finding of parental unfitness and the finding that termination of parental rights was in the best interest of the child; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in its best-interest determination; and (3) the record supported the court’s finding that the Department made a good faith effort to reunify Mother and child and that Mother repeatedly failed to follow the reunification plan. View "In re Child of Christine M." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Father’s parental rights to his child pursuant to 22 Me. Rev. Stat. 4055(1)(B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii), holding that there was no abuse of discretion in the proceedings below. On appeal, Father challenged the district court’s determination that termination of his parental rights was in the best interest of his child rather than a permanency guardianship with the child’s maternal grandmother. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that termination of Father’s parental rights and adoption with the child’s grandmother was best for the child. View "In re Child of Joshua S." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating the parental rights of Father and Mother to their child, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below. After a hearing on the petition filed by the Department of Health and Human Services, the court found, by clear and convincing evidence, that both parents were unwilling or unable to protect the child from jeopardy and that the parents failed to make a good faith effort to rehabilitate and reunify with the child. See Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(B)(2)(b)(i)-(ii), (iv). The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that, based on these findings of fact, which were supported by competent evidence in the record, the court did not err in its unfitness determination, did not abuse its discretion by determining that it was in the child’s best interest to terminate both parents’ parental rights, and that the Department satisfied its obligations under the statute. View "In re Child of Heath D." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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In this divorce proceeding, the Supreme Judicial Court vacated the district court’s child support order but affirmed the divorce judgment in all other respects, holding that the record did not support the factors used by the court for a downward deviation from Father’s presumptive child support obligation and did not support the court’s determination that the presumptive amounts of child support as calculated pursuant to the child support guidelines, see Me. Rev. Stat. 19-A, 2006, were inequitable or unjust. The Court further held (1) the court did not abuse its discretion in its award of spousal support; and (2) the court did not abuse its discretion by declining to award attorney fees beyond those provided through an interim order. The First Circuit remanded for entry of a child support order pursuant to the guidelines and otherwise affirmed. View "Sullivan v. George" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law