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Legal Information: Wyoming

Statutes: Wyoming

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November 17, 2020

14-2-309. Grounds for termination of parent-child relationship; clear and convincing evidence

(a) The parent-child legal relationship may be terminated if any one (1) or more of the following facts is established by clear and convincing evidence:

(i) The child has been left in the care of another person without provision for the child’s support and without communication from the absent parent for a period of at least one (1) year. In making the above determination, the court may disregard occasional contributions, or incidental contacts and communications. For purposes of this paragraph, a court order of custody shall not preclude a finding that a child has been left in the care of another person;

(ii) The child has been abandoned with no means of identification for at least three (3) months and efforts to locate the parent have been unsuccessful;

(iii) The child has been abused or neglected by the parent and reasonable efforts by an authorized agency or mental health professional have been unsuccessful in rehabilitating the family or the family has refused rehabilitative treatment, and it is shown that the child’s health and safety would be seriously jeopardized by remaining with or returning to the parent;

(iv) The parent is incarcerated due to the conviction of a felony and a showing that the parent is unfit to have the custody and control of the child;

(v) The child has been in foster care under the responsibility of the state of Wyoming for fifteen (15) of the most recent twenty-two (22) months, and a showing that the parent is unfit to have custody and control of the child;

(vi) The child is abandoned at less than one (1) year of age and has been abandoned for at least six (6) months;

(vii) The child was relinquished to a safe haven provider in accordance with W.S. 14-11-101 through 14-11-109, and neither parent has affirmatively sought the return of the child within three (3) months from the date of relinquishment;

(viii) The parent is convicted of murder or homicide of the other parent of the child under W.S. 6-2-101through 6-2-104;

(ix) The parent committed sexual assault and the child was conceived as a result of the sexual assault. For the purposes of this paragraph, the following shall apply:

(A) A person committed sexual assault if the person was convicted of an offense under W.S. 6-2-302, 6-2-303, 6-2-314 through 6-2-316 or other similar law of another jurisdiction;

(B) Reasonable effort to reunify the family is not required to terminate parental rights;

(C) This paragraph shall not apply if the parent seeking termination was married to or cohabiting with the parent committing the sexual assault resulting in the birth of the child for not less than two (2) years immediately after the birth of the child. Nothing in this subparagraph shall be construed as limiting a parent from seeking termination under another provision of this section or from seeking sole custody under title 20, chapter 5 of the Wyoming statutes.

(b) Proof by clear and convincing evidence that the parent has been convicted of any of the following crimes may constitute grounds that the parent is unfit to have custody or control of any child and may be grounds for terminating the parent-child relationship as to any child with no requirement that reasonable efforts be made to reunify the family:

(i) Murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent or aiding and abetting, attempting, conspiring to commit or soliciting such a crime; or

(ii) Commission of a felony assault which results in serious bodily injury to a child of the parent. As used in this paragraph “serious bodily injury” means as defined by W.S. 6-1-104.

(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, evidence that reasonable efforts have been made to preserve and reunify the family is not required in any case in which the court determines any one (1) or more of the following by clear and convincing evidence:

(i) The parental rights of the parent to any other child have been terminated involuntarily;

(ii) The parent abandoned, chronically abused, tortured or sexually abused the child;

(iii) The parent has been convicted of committing one (1) or more of the following crimes against the child or another child of that parent:

(A) Sexual assault under W.S. 6-2-302 through 6-2-304;

(B) Sexual battery under W.S. 6-2-313;

(C) Sexual abuse of a minor under W.S. 6-2-314 through 6-2-317.

(iv) The parent is required to register as a sex offender pursuant to W.S. 7-19-302 if the offense involved the child or another child of that parent. This shall not apply if the parent is only required to register for conviction under W.S. 6-2-201;

(v) Other aggravating circumstances exist indicating that there is little likelihood that services to the family will result in successful reunification.