The Appellate Group

In re M.S.

In re M.S., 2023 UT App 74 (Orme, J.)

Parental Rights

R.S. and J.S. appeal the juvenile court’s award of temporary custody of their infant son, M.S., to the Department of Child and Family Services following a shelter hearing and the court’s later finding that Child was neglected. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed, holding in part:

  • The juvenile court’s ruling contained legal errors when it did not make findings or conduct an analysis related to whether the parents’ medical decisions for their child were “reasonable and informed.”
  • Practice tip: When moving forward in a case, you must ensure that you communicate that there are collateral legal consequences resulting from criminal convictions and being labeled mentally incompetent that may have a serious impact on your client’s life. This includes the right to vote, to obtain a driver’s license, engage in certain businesses, or serve on a jury.
  • Judicial tip: Parental rights may only be terminated if both 1) the trial court finds one or more statutory grounds for termination present and 2) the trial court finds that termination of the parent’s rights is in the best interest of the child.  

Read the full court opinion