In re L.S., ___ N.C. App. ___, 822 S.E.2d 506 (2018)

Held: 
Reversed
  • Facts: In 2015, two children were adjudicated dependent. In the dependency case, respondent father agreed to an out-of-home services agreement to address substance abuse, mental health, and domestic violence issues. After the primary permanent plan of adoption was ordered in 2017, DSS initiated a TPR against both parents. Regarding respondent father, the court terminated his parental rights based upon G.S. 7B-1111(a)(2) (failure to make reasonable progress) and 7B-1111(a)(5) (failure to legitimate children born out of wedlock). Respondent father appeals.
  • Insufficient Evidence: A TPR based upon G.S. 7B-1111(a)(5) (failure to legitimate) requires that the petitioner prove and the trial court find by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that (1) before the TPR petition was filed, (2) the father of a child born out of wedlock failed to take each of the enumerated actions. The findings of fact were not based on clear, cogent, and convincing evidence. DSS did not present any evidence that the children were born out of wedlock or that respondent father failed, prior to the filing of the TPR petition, to take actions specified in G.S. 7B-1111(a)(5)a., b., c., and e.
Category:
Termination of Parental Rights
Stage:
Adjudication
Topic:
Father to Child Out-of-Wedlock
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