In a recent termination of parental rights case, the Court stated that statutory grounds of abandonment, neglect, and unfitness require clear, cogent, and convincing evidence. The Incarcerated parent’s diligent efforts at maintaining contact with child refuted such allegations. The “Child may suffer from Father’s absence, but getting in trouble before he knew about Child is no proof that Father now wants no relationship with her.” Failure to send money from 28¢ per day wages was de minimis. Incarceration does not raise the presumption of unfitness. The child’s best interests require only preponderance of evidence, but the issue never arises until statutory grounds are established.
The entire opinion can be read here.