Clear and Convincing Evidence-Order terminating parental rights will be affirmed so long as at least one of the statutory grounds pursuant to § 39.806(1) is supported by clear and convincing evidence, termination is in the manifest best interest of the child and is the least restrictive means to protect the child from harm

K.C. v. Department of Children and Families, — So.3d —- (2018)

Trial court terminated father’s parental rights pursuant to §§ 39.806(1)(b), (c) and (e)1.  Father appealed and Fifth DCA reversed as to the findings under §§ 39.806(1)(b) and (c) because these grounds were not proved by clear and convincing evidence.  However, the TPR order was affirmed because the DCA found that the Department did prove grounds pursuant to § 39.806(1)(e)1 and that termination was in the child’s manifest best interest and was the least restrictive means of protecting the child from harm.  DCA remanded case with directions for the entry of an amended final judgment striking any language from the judgment regarding sections 39.806(1)(b) and (1)(c) as grounds for the termination of the parental rights.

Practice Tip: While it is important to allege all cognizable grounds under 39.806(1) in a TPR petition because there is always a chance the trial or appellate court will dismiss or reverse one or more grounds, it is also important to limit allegations to grounds that can be proved at trial to avoid creating appealable error which results in further delay to permanency for the child.

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