Archive for the ‘Adoption/Termination of Parental Rights’ Category

Abandoning children but fighting termination of parental rights

I recently took a phone call from a mother who’d just been served with termination of parental rights (TPR)/stepmother adoption action. A few years earlier she’d left her then-husband and child and moved far, far away. Since then she hadn’t seen the child nor paid her court-ordered child support. Her ex-husband had remarried and the […]

Court of Appeals reverses termination of parental rights because child not eligible for adoption

The May 12, 2015 Court of Appeals opinion in SCDSS v. Williams, 412 S.C. 458, 772 S.E.2d 279 (Ct.App. 2015), reverses the family court’s decision to terminate Mother’s parental rights to her daughter because Child was not eligible for adoption and therefore the termination was not in Child’s best interests. In Williams, Child came into emergency […]

It can be counterproductive to fight grounds in termination of parental rights cases

A party bringing a termination of parental rights (TPR) case must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, both a statutory ground under S.C. Code § 63-7-2570 to terminate parental rights and that such termination is in the best interests of the child. One can defend TPR cases by defending the ground(s), the best interests element, […]

Supreme Court affirms finding that non technical defects with adoption consent renders consent invalid

Eight weeks after the Court of Appeals affirmed a family court finding that South Carolina’s adoption statute required strict compliance with statutory consent requirements in order for the consent to be valid, the Supreme Court affirmed that ruling in the September 29, 2014 opinion of Brown v. Baby Girl Harper, 410 S.C. 446, 766 S.E.2d 375 (2014). […]

Court of Appeals affirms strict compliance with adoption consent requirements

The August 4, 2014 Court of Appeal opinion in Brown v. Baby Girl Harper, 409 S.C. 470, 761 S.E.2d 779 (Ct. App. 2014), affirmed a family court’s decision not to terminate a birth mother’s parental rights because the executed consents to the adoption were not properly witnessed. The attorney-witness was not in the room when […]

I think they call this chutzpah

The March 27, 2014 Supreme Court opinion SCDSS v. Michelle G., 407 S.C. 499, 757 S.E.2d 388 (2014), addresses a 14th Amendment challenge to South Carolina’s termination of parental rights (TPR) statute, S.C. Code § 63-7-2570(1).  Specifically Mother argued that the term “severity” was unconstitutionally vague in the subsection authorizing TPR when: The child or another child while […]

Grasping at straws

Many family law attorneys I know have mixed feelings about the outcome of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl.  State and federal laws make it more difficult than necessary for fathers of children born out of wedlock to assert their parental rights: the balance between the right to claim paternity and the imposition of child support […]

In 3-2 decision, South Carolina Supreme Court orders immediate adoption in Indian Adoption case

In a 3-2 decision today [July 17, 2013] in the case of Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, 404 S.C. 483, 746 S.E.2d 51 (2013), the South Carolina Supreme Court resolved the remand from the United States Supreme Court by: [R]emand[ing] this case to the Family Court for the prompt entry of an order approving and finalizing […]