Articles Posted in Family Law

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At issue was the application of the consent to adoption statute, Me. Rev. Stat. 18-A, 9-302, to contested adoption proceedings heard in the district court following a district court judgment terminating parental rights concerning the child. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court finding that Foster Parents had met their burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the Department of Health and Human Services had acted unreasonably in withholding its consent to their adoption of Child. Because Child’s parents’ rights had been terminated and because the Department had legal custody of Child, section 9-302(a)(3) required that the Department’s written consent had to be obtained before any adoption could be granted. After a hearing, the district court found that the Department unreasonably withheld its consent to Foster Parents’ adoption petition. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the evidence in the record supported the trial court’s findings and discretionary determinations. View "In re Adoption of Paisley" 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 pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii), (iv). On appeal, Father argued that the district court erred by finding that he was unfit as a parent and abused its discretion by determining that termination of his parental rights was in the child’s best interest. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) the district court’s findings that Father was unfit as a parent had support from competent evidence in the record; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that termination of Father’s parental rights was in the child’s best interest. View "In re James C." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating Parents’ parental rights to their child pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii). On appeal, Parents challenged the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the district court’s finding of parental unfitness and the court’s discretionary determination that termination was in the best interest of the child. In addition, Father argued that the Department did not meet its obligation to provide reunification services. The Supreme Judicial Court held that the district court did not err or abuse its discretion in determining that termination of Parents’ parental rights, with a permanency plan for adoption, was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Emma S." 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 pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2). On appeal, counsel for Mother filed an appellate brief containing a statement that counsel believed there were no arguable issues of merit for an appeal. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) the record supported the district court’s findings of parental unfitness as to Mother; and (2) there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the court’s findings and discretionary determination that termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the children’s best interests. View "In re Dante C." 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 Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(iv). On appeal, Father argued that the evidence was insufficient as to the finding of unfitness and challenged the district court’s finding and discretionary determination that termination was in the child’s best interest. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) the evidence was sufficient to support the court’s unfitness findings; and (2) the evidence was sufficient to support a finding that termination was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Emma C." 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 pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(iv). On appeal, Father argued that the guardian ad litem failed to satisfy his statutory obligations to conduct an in-person interview with Father and to notify Father’s attorney that Father was imprisoned before the cease reunification order went into effect. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding (1) Father’s argument regarding the notification of incarceration failed for several reasons; and (2) the court’s findings that Father was unfit and that termination was in the children’s best interests was not in error or an abuse of discretion. View "In re Aurora 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 Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(iii). On appeal, Father argued that the court impermissibly relied on his incarceration in finding parental unfitness and erred in its best interest determination. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding (1) Father’s arguments regarding his imprisonment failed in several respects; and (2) the court did not err or abuse its discretion by determining that termination of Father’s parental rights, with a permanency plan of adoption, was in the child’s best interest. View "In re Asanah 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 children pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii). On appeal, Mother challenged the sufficiency of the evidence to support the trial court’s finding of parental unfitness, and Father’s counsel filed a brief indicating that there were no arguable issues with merit in this appeal. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) the district court did not err when it determined that Mother and Father are unfit pursuant to section 4055(1)(B)(2)(b); and (2) the district court did not err or abuse its discretion by determining that termination was in the children’s best interests. View "In re Meena H." 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 three children pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii). On appeal, Father argued that the evidence did not support the court’s finding of parental unfitness and its discretionary determination that termination was in the children’s best interests. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding that the district court’s findings were supported by competent evidence in the record and that the court did not err in its determination of unfitness or in determining that termination of Father’s parental rights, with a permanency plan of adoption, was in the children’s best interests. View "In re Zarianna C." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court terminating parents’ parental rights to Bentlee G. pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4055(1)(A)(1)(a) and (B)(2)(a), (b)(i)-(ii) and finding jeopardy as to Brenton G. pursuant to Me. Rev. Stat. 22, 4035(2). The court held (1) the evidence was sufficient to support the court’s finding of parental unfitness and its determination that termination of both parents’ rights was in Bentlee’s best interest; (2) the evidence was sufficient to support the court’s finding of jeopardy as to Brenton; and (3) to the extent that Mother argued that the court erred in terminating her parental rights to Bentlee because the jeopardy order was defective, her contention was unpersuasive. View "In re Bentlee G." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law