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In the matter of M.B. & S.B. v. Indiana Department of Child Services

Supreme Court of Indiana
921 N.E.2d 494 (2009)


Facts

Mother (plaintiff) voluntarily consented to the termination of her parental rights. However, there was an addendum to the written submission providing that Mother's consent was conditioned upon her right to conditional post-adoption visitation with her children, M.B. and S.B. The trial court accepted Mother's voluntary termination with the condition that Mother would be entitled to post-adoption visitation, as long as it was in the children's best interests. Following Mother's termination, she had biweekly visits with the children for three months. Then, at a review hearing, the Indiana Department of Child Services (defendant) requested that Mother's visitation be terminated. The trial court terminated Mother's visitation, even though Mother had no notice or opportunity to be heard at the hearing. Mother appealed the decision to terminate her visitation rights. The court of appeals held that the addendum contradicted Indiana law and was unenforceable. However, the court of appeals found that Mother's voluntary consent to termination of her parental rights was valid. Mother appealed the decision.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Sullivan, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Concurrence (Boehm, J.)

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