New Procedural Requirement Results in Dismissal of Termination of Parental Rights Appeal in Memphis, Tennessee: In re Catherine J.

Herston on Tennessee Family Law

Facts: Child was removed from the parents’ custody and determined to be dependent and neglected. Five months later, the Department of Children’s Services (DCS) petitioned to terminate Father’s parental rights. After a trial, the trial court entered a judgment terminating Father’s parental rights to Child.

Father filed a notice of appeal. Notably, Father did not personally sign the notice of appeal. Once alerted to the error, Father filed an amended notice of appeal containing his signature.

DCS argued that the Court of Appeals lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because of Father’s failure to sign the initial notice of appeal.

On Appeal: The Court of Appeals dismissed Father’s appeal.

As of July 21, 2016, Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-1-124(d) requires that “[a]ny notice of appeal filed in a termination of parental rights action shall be signed by the appellant.”

Rule 4A of the Tennessee Rules of Appellate Procedure requires…

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