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The undoing of an Adoption in South Carolina and the Due process consequences

by | Apr 7, 2017 | Adoption, Firm News, Termination Of Parental Rights

The appellate court vacated a family law courts decision awarding an adoption to the Tammy and Edward Dalsing who had cared for Braelynn Pucket who is three years old since she was weeks old.  They were granted an adoption and became adoptive parents until the biological father Andrew Jack Meyers went to court and filed and appeal. The appellate court stated,  “We vacate the family court’s finding that father’s consent was not required for the adoption and the family court’s order granting foster parents adoption of child,” reads the appellate court opinion. “We find the record does not contain clear and convincing evidence showing father willfully failed to visit child.”

“[Myers] was never in court – he was never allowed to come,” his lawyer, Melinda Butler, told Fox News in February. “He was incarcerated in another state and was never transported.”

At the time Braelynn was placed in the care of the Dalsings, Myers was incarcerated in Virginia on two contempt of court charges, two fraud, bank notes or coins charges and one probation violation.

Following his release in November, Myers appealed the adoption order and an appellate court judge agreed, citing a previous ruling that said incarceration was not enough reason to terminate a parent’s rights. Under juvenile law there has to be clear and convincing evidence to terminate parental rights of a parent from their client. Apparently the South Carolina Superior Court found that there was no clear and convincing evidence to terminate the rights of Myers the Father.

The adoptive parents have eight children they care for four biological children and three other children they care for.  The received Braelynn Pucket when the mother of Braelynn could no long care for the child because of failed drug tests when she was born. The father the Dalsings claim never did any behavior to show interest in his biological daughter such as financially support her or contact her at all.  He maintained some money while in prison so he had the means to do so the Dalsings argue.

However, the father argues through his lawyer that he was never transferred from prison to go to Court and plead his case to the Court.  In the termination of parental rights there are certain due process rights that have to be given to a parent who the Court is terminating their rights. The department of Social Services usually does the processing of reports from regarding any termination of parental rights.  Therefore, if Myers is claiming that he was not given the adequate opportunity to contest his termination then he should be permitted the opportunity to at least face the Judge and the department of social services to learn if there is a way in which he can be reunited with his child.  The problem he faces however, is that the child has been in the custody of another party for three years.  And the most important element the department of social services and the Judge views in terminating parental rights is if their was a bond with the parent prior to adoption.