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COA rules natural parents’ consent unnecessary in adoption

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Once a trial court found a child’s natural parents to be unfit, the court did not need to revisit that finding at an adoption hearing, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled.

The mother and father of J.M. lost custody of her and the mother’s three older children after the Indiana Department of Child Services removed the minors to foster care because of the natural parents’ continued alcohol and drug abuse, along with incidents of domestic violence.

Eventually, the paternal grandparents filed a petition for guardianship of J.M. and the natural parents consented. However, the foster parents objected to the grandparents’ petition and filed a petition to adopt J.M. The grandparents followed with a competing petition of adoption.

 After a consent hearing, the trial court determined the natural parents were unfit and their consent was unnecessary.

Proceeding to the adoption hearing, the trial court granted the foster parents’ petition for adoption.

The natural parents appealed the court’s decision that their consent was unnecessary.

In In the Matter of the Adoption of J.M.: J.P. and J.M. v. R.H. and R.H., 82A01-1309-AD-404, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

The Court of Appeals rejected the natural parents’ argument that the trial court erred when it did not consider their fitness at the time of the consent and adoption hearings. Pointing to the mother’s and father’s continued difficulty with alcohol and lack of insight on the negative effects that alcohol has had on their lives, the COA panel found the trial court did not err by concluding they were unfit at the consent hearing.

“As for the adoption hearing, the Natural Parents’ argument that the trial court should have reevaluated their fitness at that time is merely a request for a second bite at the proverbial apple,” Judge John Baker wrote for the court. “Once the trial court concluded that the Natural Parents were unfit at the consent hearing, as stated above, the effect was the termination of their parental rights.”

 

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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

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