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Sample Findings Of Fact, Conclusions Of Law, And Order - District Of Columbia

Sample Findings Of Fact, Conclusions Of Law, And Order Form. This is a District Of Columbia form and can be used in Adoption Superior Court Statewide .
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SUPERIOR COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FAMILY COURT DOMESTIC RELATIONS BRANCH ­ ADOPTION EX PARTE IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION OF A.B.C. FOR ADOPTION OF MINOR CHILD(REN) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ADOPTION CASE NO. A-001-02 JUDGE RONNA LEE BECK LIMITED CONSOLIDATION WITH IN THE MATTER OF JONNY DOE DOB: RESPONDENT(S) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) NEGLECT CASE NO. N-XXX SOCIAL FILE NO. YYY NEGLECT REVIEW CALENDAR JUDGE TURNER SAMPLE FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND ORDER This matter came before the court on _____________, for a Show Cause hearing pursuant to D.C. Code Ann. § 16-304(d) and (e) (2001). The issues before the court are whether the consent to adoption of the mother and father of Johnny Doe should be waived because: 1) the biological parents have abandoned the prospective adoptee and voluntarily failed to contribute to his support for a period of at least six months next preceding the date of the filing of the petitions on _______________; or 2) the biological parents are withholding their consents to A.B.C.'s petition contrary to the best interests of the child. The following persons were present at the hearing: (1) petitioner, A.B.C.; (2) 1 American LegalNet, Inc. www.FormsWorkflow.com counsel for the petitioner, Patty Black; (3) guardian ad litem, John Rose; (4) counsel for the biological mother, Mary Green; (5) counsel for the biological father, Jack Blue; (6) Child and Family Services Agency ("CFSA") social worker, Joan Purple; and (7) investigator for the Diligent Search Unit of CFSA, Allan White. The court heard testimony from A.B.C., the petitioner, and Joan Purple, the social worker. The following exhibits were admitted into evidence: four pages from a Contact Report. After assessing the credibility of the witnesses, evaluating all of the evidence, and considering the arguments of counsel, the court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law. FINDINGS OF FACT 1. Johnny Doe was born January 1, 1996. His biological mother is Susan Doe. His biological father is John Smith. A signed and notarized Biological Mother's Affidavit of Paternity in which Ms. Doe identified John Smith as Johnny's biological father is filed in the court jacket. 2. The Order directing Ms. Doe to Show Cause stated: If there is reliable proof that you have received a copy of the Notice to Mother of Adoption Proceeding and Order to Show Cause and you fail to appear, this court may infer or conclude that you have abandoned your interest in this child and waived your consent to the adoption. This action by the Court would have the effect of terminating your parental rights. 3. Ms. Doe was personally served with the Notice to Mother of Adoption Proceeding and Order to Show Cause on December 1, 2002. An affidavit of service is filed in the court jacket. She did not appear at the Show Cause hearing, and 2 American LegalNet, Inc. www.FormsWorkflow.com counsel made no representations regarding her absence. 4. John Smith was properly served with a Notice of Adoption Proceeding and Order to Show Cause by posted notice after diligent efforts to locate and personally serve him were unsuccessful. Pursuant to the court's order, notice was posted in the Domestic Relations Clerk's Office for a period of at least 14 days, beginning February 24, 2003. Despite the above-referenced notice, no one purporting to be Mr. Smith responded to the notice or appeared at the hearings. 5. April 1, 2002. 6. Johnny Doe was placed in the care of the petitioner in November 1997 The court takes judicial notice that the petition for adoption was filed on and has remained with her continuously and without interruption since then. 7. The petitioner testified that Johnny is in good health. He receives regular medical care. The social worker has visited the petitioner's home and has seen Johnny. She testified that he appears stable and healthy, that the home is appropriate, that petitioner can provide a loving and nurturing home, and that the petitioner is fit and proper to adopt Johnny. The social worker supports the adoption. 8. Ms. Doe has had very little contact with Johnny since he came into petitioner's care in November 1997. Ms. Doe has visited Johnny twice since November 1997. She has not otherwise attempted to contact Johnny by letter, telephone, or through the social worker. She has not provided financial assistance, other support, or gifts and she has not acknowledged birthdays or other special occasions. 9. No one purporting to be the biological father of Johnny has ever visited 3 American LegalNet, Inc. www.FormsWorkflow.com him or provided financial or other support or gifts, or acknowledged Johnny's birthday or other special days. No one claiming to be Johnny's biological father has ever contacted the petitioner or the social worker. 10. John Smith has not visited Johnny; Mr. Smith has not provided financial assistance, other support, or gifts, and he has not acknowledged Johnny's birthday or other special days. He has not contacted the petitioner or the social worker. CONCLUSIONS OF LAW 1. Although the consent of each biological parent is ordinarily required prior to an adoption, D.C. Code Ann. § 16-304(a) (2001), the consent of a biological parent is not required when the parent "has abandoned the prospective adoptee and voluntarily failed to contribute to his support for a period of at least six months next preceding the date of the filing of the petition." D.C. Code Ann. §16-304(d) (2001). 2. With respect to abandonment: It is well established that an adoption will be granted without parental consent on grounds of abandonment only when the parent's conduct manifests an intention to be rid of all parental obligations and to forego all parental rights. Abandonment does not, however, require that a parent "leave her child on a doorstep." Nor does it require that she cease to feel concern for the child. In determining whether there has been an abandonment, a court must consider the totality of circumstances, including the degree of parental love, care and attention. In re C.E.H., 391 A.2d 1370, 1373 (D.C. 1978) (citations omitted). "In order to show a termination of an abandonment, the conduct of the parent must demonstrate a genuine desire to care and provide for the child. A mere expression of desire by a delinquent parent for return of the child . . . will not suffice." Id. at 1374 n.2 (citations omitted). 4 American LegalNet, Inc. www.FormsWorkflow.com 3. There is clear and convincing evidence that Ms. D
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