Posts Tagged ‘Termination of Parental Rights’

Lessons from my first contested termination of parental rights prosecution trial

Last week I represented a mother and step-father in a contested termination of parental rights(TPR)/step-parent adoption case. I have been a licensed attorney for over twenty-five years–the last twenty of which I have primarily focused on family law. I have successfully defended a couple of TPR cases brought by DSS. I have filed contested TPR […]

Substituted, published Court of Appeals opinion clarifies terminating parental rights of incarcerated parents

On March 3, 2017, with no announcement I can locate, the South Carolina Court of Appeals substituted and published its March 1, 2017 opinion in SCDSS v. Myers, 419 S.C. 301, 797 S.E.2d 740 (Ct. App. 2017).  This opinion reverses a termination of an incarcerated Father’s parental rights and the granting of an adoption to the […]

Insufficient guardian investigation causes Court of Appeals to reverse termination of parental rights

The December 30, 2016 Court of Appeals opinion in SCDSS v. Nelson reversed the termination of Mother’s parental rights primarily because the guardian ad litem had conducted an insufficient investigation. In Nelson, DSS removed Mother’s three children in September 2013 because she was living with her sister in a roach-infested home without running water, lights, […]

Court of Appeals vacates removal and TPR orders due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction

In the October 10, 2016 opinion in SCDSS v. Tran, 418 S.C. 308, 792 S.E.2d 254 (Ct.App. 2016), the South Carolina Court of Appeals vacated the family court’s removal order and termination of parental rights order, finding that DSS had failed to establish subject matter jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. Initially I thought the Court of […]

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 […]

Two recent unpublished termination of parental rights opinions that should have been published

Within the past week the South Carolina Court of Appeals has issued two unpublished opinions reversing two family court decisions to terminate a parent’s parental rights on the basis that the Department of Social Services (DSS) failed to meet its burden of proof. Both cases successfully challenged the statutory ground for termination.  In one of […]

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, […]

 

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