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Termination of Parental Rights

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//May 27, 2024//

Termination of Parental Rights

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//May 27, 2024//

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WI Court of Appeals – District I

Case Name: State of Wisconsin v. E. S.

Case No.: 2024AP000395

Officials: Donald, P.J.

Focus: Termination of Parental Rights

Emily appealed the circuit court’s decision to terminate her parental rights to her children, Nicole and Zachary, arguing that the court’s determination was not in the children’s best interests. She contested the court’s findings that the children lacked substantial relationships with her and that they were too young to express their wishes.

The State filed petitions to terminate Emily’s parental rights in April 2022, alleging that Nicole and Zachary were in need of protection or services due to Emily’s failure to assume parental responsibility. A jury trial followed leading to a finding of unfitness against Emily.

The circuit court proceeded to the dispositional phase, hearing testimony from key individuals involved in the case. It emphasized evidence regarding Emily’s mental health issues, the children’s living conditions, and concerns about Emily’s visits with them. The court found that termination was in the best interests of the children, considering factors such as the likelihood of adoption, the children’s well-being, and the stability of their current placement.

Emily challenged the court’s decision, but the appellate court affirmed, stating that the circuit court had adequately considered all statutory factors. It upheld the court’s findings regarding the children’s relationships with Emily, the potential harm of severing those relationships, and the children’s ability to express their wishes. The court concluded that the circuit court had not erred in determining that termination was in the children’s best interests, affirming the decision.

Affirmed.

Decided 05/21/24

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