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Missouri appellate ruling upholds termination of parental rights

A long running legal dispute over family law and juvenile law issues has been decided again in the Missouri Court of Appeals. The battle involves issues in juvenile court surrounding the termination of parental rights of a woman who was incarcerated in 2007, and the adoption of her biological child after the mother’s rights were terminated.

Originally, a Missouri judge terminated the mother’s parental rights in 2008 on the basis that the woman failed to maintain a relationship with her biological child while incarcerated. After the court found that she failed to try to maintain contact or provide for her child, the court terminated her parental rights. The child was then adopted by a Missouri couple.

The case rose to the Missouri Supreme Court, which in early 2011 remanded the issues back to the trial court.

The state high court says that Missouri law was not properly followed and ordered a new trial on the termination of parental rights issue. Last year, the trial court again terminated the mother’s rights. Monday, the appellate court upheld the termination issue a second time.

Adoption cases do not necessarily involve an underlying termination of parental rights issue, but some cases can follow a termination of rights.

Missouri family law does not necessarily work in a vacuum. A parent facing a termination of rights issue may wish to defend against the claim. Similarly, adoptive parents look forward to the adoption proceeding as a happy event. In fact, judges all across the country, including here in Missouri, often look at adoption cases as uplifting.

In any legal proceeding, it is important that the I’s are properly dotted, the Ts are crossed, and potential legal issues throughout the web of laws are considered.

Source: The Kansas City Star, “Missouri appeals court upholds ruling in Guatemala adoption case," Oct. 9, 2013

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