Williams & Anderson obtains successful result in appeal challenging the constitutionality of the Arkansas guardianship termination statute.
The Arkansas Supreme Court recently held that guardians have the burden of rebutting the constitutionally required presumption that termination of guardianship is in a child’s best interest when a fit parent who has previously consented to guardianship moves to terminate the guardianship. See In the Matter of the Guardianship of S.H., a minor, Troeskyn v. Herrington, 2012 Ark. 245. The Supreme Court’s holding protects the rights of parents in guardianship proceedings.
In the appeal, Williams & Anderson represented the parent of a minor child. The parent had consented to the child’s paternal grandparents having temporary guardianship of the child. The trial judge held that the parent had the burden of proving that the guardianship was no longer necessary and that termination of the guardianship was in the child’s best interest. On appeal, the Supreme Court held that placing that burden of proof on the parent, who was never found unfit, disregarded the parent’s constitutional rights, and that the burden should be placed on the guardians opposing termination. Teresa Wineland was the lead attorney on the case, with Bonnie Johnson assisting on the briefs.