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Lanny

PSA: for Adoptive Parents in South Carolina

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In our county if one parent is incarcerated then they can have them appear in court via telephone or video conference.

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It sounds like the original ruling terminated the bio father's rights -- but the reason on record for doing so wasn't legitimate enough (simply incarceration), so an appeal against that termination was successful.

 

I suppose if the bio father's conduct while he was incarcerated was an issue (non-interest) that should have been included as the better (and actually legitimate) reason for terminating his rights in the first place. If that reason had been proven in the first place, the appeal would have failed.

 

On the other hand, if there was no actual legal basis for terminating his parental rights in the first place... why shouldn't he have a right to fight for custody of his child? If he isn't unfit, and isn't disinterested -- isn't the child his own child? It sounds like a legitimate claim. I know she is used to her adoptive family, but if it's an error, it's not too late to make it right.

Edited by bolt.
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The Decision of the court of appeals is online. You can read it hear: http://cases.justia.com/south-carolina/court-of-appeals/2016-2016-81.pdf?ts=1481840663

 

 

Here is a quote from the court decision:

 

"In sum, Father (1) voluntarily started his prison term early so he could complete the sentence as soon as possible, (2) sent a letter to the DSS caseworker expressing his desire to visit Child, (3) asked for Foster Parents' telephone number so he could call Child, (4) asked Grandmother to use $50 per month to support Child instead of sending it to Father in prison, (5) sent a letter to his attorney asking for an update on the case, (6) voluntarily signed an affidavit acknowledging paternity, (7) obtained a DNA test proving paternity even though DSS failed to assist with the test, (8) sent a letter to the GAL seeking to pursue a relationship with Child, (9) completed and returned a questionnaire from the GAL within one week, and (10) sent Child a birthday card expressing his love for Child. Under these facts and circumstances, clear and convincing evidence does not exist to show Father willfully abandoned Child by evincing an intent or settled purpose to forego parental duties. Thus, the family court erred by finding a statutory ground for TPR existed based on willful abandonment."

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