In re D.S.
In re D.S., 2023 UT App 98 (Harris, J.)
The juvenile court terminated Father’s parental rights to facilitate adoption by Father’s mother. In so ruling, it rejected Father’s argument that a permanent custody and guardianship would suit the situation better than adoption. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed, holding:
- The juvenile court’s decision was against the clear weight of the evidence.
- Practice tip: A prospective adoptive parent should not present evidence about a child’s desire regarding termination. The better practice is for a guardian ad litem or a professional, such as a mental health counselor, to provide that testimony.
- Practice tip: Even an incarcerated parent may build and maintain a meaningful relationship with their child that will survive termination proceedings.
- Judicial tip: It is more difficult to establish that termination is in the child’s best interest when it is unlikely that a parent will not be cut out of the child’s life.