Single Parent TPR: Reversal of order terminating father’s parental rights on appeal requires reversal of order terminating mother’s parental rights as well.

A.M.B. v. Department of Children and Families, — So.3d —- (2017) Both parent’s rights were terminated below, but order terminating father’s parental rights was reversed on appeal based on concession of error by Department of Children and Families. Following precedent set by the Second DCA, the First DCA held that order terminating mother’s rights must […]

Paternity: Biological Father of Child Born to Intact Marriage Has Extremely Limited Rights and a “Casual Interest in Fatherhood” Found Insufficient To Trigger Constitutional Protection

M.L. v. Department of Children and Families, 2017WL1718807 (Fla. 4th DCA) The putative father filed a motion to intervene in a TPR proceeding where child was born into an existing marriage. Although the putative father was named on the child’s birth certificate and he was present at the shelter hearing, he waited 18 months to […]

Case Plan Compliance

J.S. v. Department of Children and Families, 2017 WL 902184 (Fla. 5th DCA)  Mother appealed termination of her parental rights based solely upon her failure to follow a case plan.  The children were originally removed from Mother due to domestic violence.  Four months before the termination of parental rights trial, random drug tests and substance […]

Statutory Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

If a trial court’s ruling on one of the statutory grounds for termination of parental rights is supported by clear and convincing evidence, the court’s order terminating parental rights is affirmable.  D.H. v. Department of Children and Families, 2017 WL 728063 (Fla. 5th DCA) Mother appealed termination of her parental rights.  The Fifth District Court […]

S.M. v. Department of Children and Families, 188 So.3d 982 (Fla. 5th DCA 2016)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights to T.H. The Fifth District Court of Appeal (Fifth DCA) affirmed termination. When T.H. was two years old, Father was found guilty by reason of insanity of homicide and involuntarily committed. He remained institutionalized almost continuously since then. T.H. was adjudicated dependent in 2011. Four years later, T.H. […]

Guardian ad Litem Program v. M.H., 184 So.3d 1253 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016)

The Guardian ad Litem program appealed denial of termination of parental rights. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) reversed and remanded for further proceedings. The specific question at issue before the Fourth DCA was whether proof of a guilty plea or conviction in a criminal proceeding was required for termination of parental rights […]

R.W. v. Department of Children and Families, 2016 WL 1239878 (Fla. 3rd DCA)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights. The Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) affirmed termination. The Third DCA found merit in only one of the issues mother raised on appeal, her claim that the trial court’s participation in the questioning of witnesses at the adjudication hearing constituted an abandonment of neutrality and impartiality. […]

M.C. v. Department of Children and Families, 2016 WL 717694 (Fla. 3rd DCA)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights under § 39.806(1)(f). The Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) reversed termination. The underlying petition for termination of Mother’s rights alleged that Mother took E.C. to the hospital with “second degree, caustic, liquid burns” on his back, buttocks, right shoulder and right side of his body. Mother […]

In re B.F., 2016 WL 166669 (Fla. 2nd DCA)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights. Although the Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) affirmed, the Second DCA issued an opinion to express its concern with the elimination of the nexus requirement in amended  § 39.806(1)(f). The Second DCA noted concern regarding the constitutionality of the amendment, specifically that the amendment might not […]

In re A.W., 2015 WL 9258506 (Fla. 2nd DCA)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights to her daughters, S.W. and A.W. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) reversed and remanded, finding that the trial court erroneously applied a statutory amendment retroactively in its findings. N.W. lived with her long-term girlfriend T.H., T.H.’s daughter T.K.H, and N.W.’s daughters. N.W. and T.H. had […]

J.P. v. Florida Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 167394 (Fla. 1st DCA)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights as to her daughter, T.P. The First District Court of Appeal (First DCA) affirmed the TPR utilizing the “highly deferential” standard of review. T.P. came to the attention of the department following two hospitalizations for nephrotic syndrome and allegations of medical neglect. Mother was provided training on her […]

In re E.D., 2015 WL 9487592 (Fla. 2d DCA)

In affirming the trial court’s final judgment that terminated the mother’s parental rights to her four children, the Second District Court of Appeal emphasized the importance of trial courts adhering to specific time frames in cases involving termination of parental rights.  In this case, the trial court did not render its final termination of parental […]

R.T. v. Florida Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 5139483 (Fla. 3rd DCA)

The Father appealed termination of his parent rights based on abandonment.   The Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) affirmed termination.   Although Father maintained a telephonic relationship with his child, the trial record supported that Father was unable to care for the child. The Third DCA found the evidence supported a finding that it was […]

Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program v. A.A., 2015 WL 4510417 (Fla. 5th DCA)

The Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) appealed the trial court’s Final Judgment Denying Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights and Ordering a Permanent Guardianship Case Plan. The trial court found that DCF proved statutory grounds for termination as to Mother and Father by clear and convincing evidence […]

State v. T.S., 155 So.3d 476 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015)

The trial court found that the Department of Children and Families (Department) met the statutory factors for termination of parental rights and established that termination was in the best interests of the child but denied termination, finding it was not the least restrictive means to protect the child. The Department appealed the findings related to […]

S.B. v. Department of Children and Families, 132 So.3d 1243 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014)

The father of three daughters and their half-brother, appealed the trial court’s termination of his parental rights. The Department of Children and Families’  (the department) petition was based on the argument that the “incarcerated father’s continued relationship with his children would be harmful to them within meaning of termination of parental rights statute. § 39.806(1)(d), […]

J.H. v. Department of Children and Families, 2014 WL 3559381 (Fla. 5th DCA)

The Department of Children and Families appealed denial of its petition for termination of parental rights.  The Fifth District Court of Appeal (Fifth DCA) affirmed the trial court’s decision but issued its opinion without prejudice, specifically granting the Department permission to refile for termination of parental rights if Father is sentenced to a significant prison […]

In the Interest of A.R., 2014 WL 3537020 (Fla. 2nd DCA)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights following Mother’s private petition for termination.  Mother’s underlying petition cited Fla. Statute § 39.806(1)(d)(1), which allows for termination when the parent is expected to be incarcerated for a significant portion of the child’s minority.  The trial court did not permit Father to present evidence regarding the nature of […]