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A Better Partnership
October 28, 2009

COA Opinion: There may be grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights based upon prior voluntary termination of parental rights to another child

On October 27, 2009, the Court of Appeals released its published opinion in In re Michael Allen Jones, Jr., No. 290194.' The Court of Appeals affirmed the termination of Appellant's parental rights to her son.' The Court of Appeals, however, found that the trial court had committed clear error in finding the' a statutory ground for termination existed through MCL '' 712A.19b(3)(1) which related to involuntary termination of parental rights to another child.' The Court of Appeals pointed out that although the Appellant's parental rights to' her daughter' were terminated, such termination was voluntary pursuant to the adoption code and' does not meet the terms of the statutory ground cited by the trial court.' The Court of Appeals concluded, however, that this error was harmless.' ' ' In' this case, the' voluntary termination of rights to the' daughter' occurred after involuntary termination proceedings had commenced.' ' Pursuant to MCL '' 712A.19b(3)(m), there is a statutory basis for termination of parental rights to the son because the voluntary termination of rights to' the daughter followed the initiation of involuntary termination proceedings as to the daughter.' Thus, the Court of Appeals concluded there was a proper statutory ground to justify termination of parental rights to Appellant's son.

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