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In Re the Termination of Parental Rights to Greg H.L v. Jerome E.M.

Wisconsin Court of Appeals
243 Wis. 2d 117 (2001)


Facts

Jerome E. M. and Gail M. had a child, Greg H. L., in 1991. Jerome was not a part of Greg’s life until Greg was almost three years old, when Jerome filed an action to be adjudicated Greg’s father, which a court did three years later in 1997. Despite filing the action to be adjudicated Greg’s father, Jerome made no further attempt to establish a relationship with Greg, did not attempt to financially support Greg, and did not even communicate with Greg other than one conversation with a guardian ad litem in 1995. Instead, Greg grew up with a different man, Roger M., acting as his father since he was a year old, and in 1999, Roger and Gail filed a petition to terminate Jerome’s parental rights and for Roger to adopt Greg. The court held a hearing and found that Jerome had abandoned Greg and failed to assume parental duties and that it was in Greg’s best interests for Jerome’s parental rights to be terminated. Jerome appealed, arguing that the 1997 adjudication that he was Greg’s father should have barred the court’s termination of his parental rights under the doctrine of res judicata.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Roggensack, J.)

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