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In re Dayton C.

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

October 15, 2013

In re Interest of Dayton C., a child under 18 years of age
v.
John C., appellant State of Nebraska, appellee,

NOT DESIGNATED FOR PERMANENT PUBLICATION

Appeal from the Separate Juvenile Court of Douglas County: Wadie Thomas, Judge.

Paul M. Muia, of Law Offices of Paul Muia, for appellant.

Donald W. Kleine, Douglas County Attorney, Amy N. Schuchman, and Patrick C. McGee, Senior Certified Law Student, for appellee.

Inbody, Chief Judge, and Irwin and Riedmann, Judges.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT ON APPEAL

Riedmann, Judge.

INTRODUCTION

John C. appeals from the decision of the separate juvenile court of Douglas County terminating his parental rights to his son, Dayton C. Because we find that the State proved by clear and convincing evidence a statutory ground for termination and that termination of John's parental rights was in Dayton's best interests, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

John is the biological father of Dayton, born in June 2007. When Dayton was approximately 2 years old, his maternal grandparents were granted a legal guardianship of him. The guardianship was terminated on April 13, 2011, and Dayton was returned to his mother's care. Later that month, Dayton was removed from his mother's care and placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

On July 31, 2012, the State filed a supplemental petition alleging that Dayton was a child within the meaning of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(a) (Reissue 2008) due to the faults or habits of John. The State also asked that the court terminate John's parental rights to Dayton pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-292(1), (2), (7), and (9) (Cum. Supp. 2012). On August 13, the juvenile court found that Dayton was a child within the meaning of § 43-247(3)(a) as to John, because John was incarcerated, and Dayton was ordered to remain in the custody of DHHS.

The State also filed a motion to terminate the parental rights of Dayton's mother, which the juvenile court ultimately granted. Because she has not appealed that decision, we will not address her any further or discuss any evidence presented as to her at the termination hearing.

The termination hearing was held on November 26, 2012, and February 15, 2013. The following evidence was presented: Dayton's maternal grandmother, Ivy G., is currently acting as his foster mother, and prior to that, she had been his legal guardian since he was 2 years old. Dayton lives with Ivy during the week, and on the weekends for the past 3 years, he has lived with Susan D., who is John's mother and Dayton's paternal grandmother. The grandmothers arranged this schedule informally, and John is aware of the arrangement.

Ivy testified that John never comes to her house to visit Dayton or calls to ask about him or speak to him. John has never sent any cards, gifts, letters, or financial support for Dayton to her home. Susan testified that John would call her house to talk to Dayton, but over the past 3 years that Dayton has lived with her on the weekends, John has never been consistent in visiting Dayton. She described John's visits with Dayton as "sporadic" and said that he would generally see Dayton about once every 2 or 3 weeks, but it "[w]asn't anything that was on a normal basis." Susan stated that there were times she arranged for John to come to her house to visit Dayton, but that John ...


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