Appeals panel affirms termination of guardianship

May 30, 2017

The aunt and uncle of a 5-year-old who were appointed the child’s guardian after the child’s mother was charged with neglect failed to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals that a trial court had erred in terminating their guardianship.

A panel of the court affirmed the order in Delaware Circuit Court in In the Matter of the Guardianship of I.R., M.P. and D.P. v. M.M.J.S, 18A05-1610-GU-2431. The mother had been accused of neglect when the child was 2, and the guardianship was established to remain in place until mother met certain conditions such as supporting herself, having safe and stable housing, and successfully completing court-ordered counseling.

Judge James Kirsch wrote for the court that because the mother sufficiently met her burden of showing that she satisfied the conditions set forth by the trial court, the burden shifted to the guardians to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the child’s best interests are served by placement with someone other than the mother, which they could not do.

“The evidence supported these findings by the trial court,” Kirsch wrote. “We, therefore, conclude that Guardians did not carry their burden to overcome the presumption in Mother’s favor that Child’s best interests are served by placement with her.”


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