Best Interest of Child in Termination of Parental Rights

23 October 2012 Categories: All Blogs, Family Law and Divorce

A recent Court of Appeals opinion reiterated the test of what is in the best interest of the child when determining the termination of parental rights. The list of factors is not an exclusive list, but here is the list of relevant factors:

(1) Whether the parent or guardian has made such an adjustment of circumstance, conduct, or conditions as to make it safe and in the child’s best interest to be in the home of the parent or guardian;
(2) Whether the parent or guardian has failed to effect a lasting adjustment after reasonable efforts by available social services agencies for such duration of time that lasting adjustment does not reasonably appear possible;
(3) Whether the parent or guardian has maintained regular visitation or other contact with the child;
(4) Whether a meaningful relationship has otherwise been established between the parent or guardian and the child;
(5) The effect a change of caretakers and physical environment is likely to have on the child’s emotional, psychological and medical condition;
(6) Whether the parent or guardian, or other person residing with the parent or guardian, has shown brutality, physical, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse, or neglect toward the child, or another child or adult in the family or household;
(7) Whether the physical environment of the parent’s or guardian’s home is healthy and safe, whether there is criminal activity in the home, or whether there is such use of alcohol or controlled substances or controlled substances analogues as may render the parent or guardian consistently unable to care for the child in a safe and stable manner;
(8) Whether the parent’s or guardian’s mental and/or emotional status would be detrimental to the child or prevent the parent or guardian from effectively providing safe and stable care and supervision for the child; or
(9) Whether the parent or guardian has paid child support consistent with the child support guidelines promulgated by the department pursuant to § 36-5-101.

The case, which the full opinion can be found here: http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/emily_c.r.opinion.pdf, is about the termination of a mother’s parental rights. Termination of parental rights is not something courts like to do, but it will be done if the court finds it is in the best interest of a child.

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