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Knoxville Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Child Custody > Krystal, the Tennessee Mother Who Abandoned Her Children, Resulting in Termination of Parental Rights

Krystal, the Tennessee Mother Who Abandoned Her Children, Resulting in Termination of Parental Rights


The Tennessee family court system prioritizes the best interests of the children in all its decisions.  In most cases, that means that both biological parents have regular contact with the children, although the details about how much time the children spend with each parent vary from one family to another.  In many families, a parent’s financial situation prevents him or her from spending as much time with the children as he or she would like, either because the parent must work long hours or because the parent cannot afford to give the children a stable place to live.  Termination of parental rights is a worst-case scenario; if your ex is threatening to terminate your parental rights because you have failed to uphold your obligations according to your parenting plan or because your ex disapproves of your new partner, it is most likely just an empty threat.  Even if your parental rights have been terminated, there is still hope.  A Tennessee child custody lawyer can help you restore them.

A Mother Loses Her Parental Rights

In the case In Re: McKenzie O. et al., the court referred to the parties only by their first names.  Krystal had two children, McKenzie and Jeremiah, born in 2005 and 2007, respectively.  The Department of Children’s Services visited their home on many occasions, usually because McKenzie used drugs in the presence of the children and did not provide them with adequate food and supervision.  Furthermore, her car had only two seats, so the children sometimes rode in the trunk.  On March 15, 2013, Krystal never came to pick up the children from school, and the court placed them in the temporary custody of their aunt and uncle Donitta and Johnny.  Krystal did not contact the children for more than a year and failed to comply with her court-ordered permanency plan to regain custody.  The court moved to terminate Krystal’s parental rights on November 25, 2015.

Krystal appealed the termination of parental rights.  She argued that she had complied with the permanency plan as much as she was able.  The permanency plan required her to complete a parenting assessment and drug and alcohol assessment, which she did, and, as per their recommendations, she completed an inpatient drug rehabilitation program, as well as mental health counseling.  The court determined that Krystal did not enter the drug rehabilitation program until the fall of 2016, more than three years after the day she failed to pick up the children at school.  Furthermore, the appeals court found that Krystal’s financial situation was not stable enough for her to support the children.  The court ruled that it was in the children’s best interests to remain in the custody of their aunt and uncle who had been caring for them for several years.

Let Us Help You Today

The Tennessee courts do not take the decision to terminate parental rights, or to restore them, lightly.  You will need the help of a family lawyer to reinstate your parental rights.  Contact Knoxville child custody lawyer Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.




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