M.B. v. D.W., Termination Of Parental Rights Of Transgendered Parent

M.B. v. D.W. ___S.W. 3d ___ (Ky. App. 2007), decided September 21, 2007.

TC granted a petition for adoption, which thereby terminated Father’s parental rights. The TC held, pursuant to statutory authority, that termination was appropriate because the child had suffered neglect and emotional harm. TC reasoned that the harm resulted from father’s failure to appropriately prepare the child, mentally, for the effects of his gender reassignment surgery. Due to the harm inflicted on the child it was in her best interest to grant the petition for adoption. Additionally, the TC held that Father had failed to financially support the child because he had not been paying his share of her insurance and medical expenses.
CA held, TC’s decision was supported by substantial evidence. Therefore, the court's decision to terminate parental rights and grant the adoption was not clearly erroneous. CA also opined that Father failed to preserve his argument that less drastic measures should have been taken. Regardless, CA reasoned that TC had made an implied finding that there were no less drastic measures. Finally, CA stated that it was not holding that gender reassignment is itself grounds for termination of parental rights. Instead, the CA stated that it was upholding TC’s decision because all of the statutory elements were meet and supported by substantial evidence.
Digested by Linda Dixon Bullock, Diana L. Skaggs + Associates.