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Mother's inability to overcome substance abuse results in termination of parental rights

The court held that the trial court properly terminated the respondent-mother's parental rights to the child where the statutory grounds for termination were established by clear and convincing evidence and termination was in the child's best interests. It held that the trial court did not clearly err in finding that termination was proper because "[t]he conditions that led to the adjudication continue to exist," and respondent "fails to provide proper care or custody for the child[.]" Her substance abuse prevented her from providing proper care and custody of the child and led to the adjudication. She had received substance abuse prevention services in the form of both inpatient treatment and outpatient therapy, including services to address the impact of her substance abuse on parenting. She was inconsistent with and not fully engaged in the therapy, never completed a substance abuse evaluation, and did not regularly submit to drug screens. She minimized her substance abuse problem and denied that it could affect her ability to parent her child. She ultimately admitted that she had been using drugs and needed help to stop, but continued to deny that it affected her parenting. Respondent entered a treatment program later that month, but left before completing it. She did not invest herself in treatment until the supplemental petition was filed. Considering that she made virtually no progress in overcoming her substance abuse problem after approximately a year of services, the trial court did not clearly err in finding that her substance abuse condition continued to exist and was not reasonably likely to be rectified, and that she failed to provide proper care or custody and was not reasonably likely to be able to do so within a reasonable time given the child's age. Although she had been attending outpatient treatment and providing clean drug screens since the supplemental petition was filed, respondent had done both before the supplemental petition was filed while actually still using drugs. Further, there was no evidence that she obtained and maintained a legal source of income in order to provide for the needs of herself and the child. The court also held that the trial court did not clearly err in finding that "[t]here is a reasonable likelihood, based on the conduct or capacity of [respondent], that the child will be harmed if he . . . is returned to the home of [respondent]," based on her continued drug use. Affirmed.

Antenuptial agreement held to be valid and enforceable

The court held that the parties' antenuptial agreement was valid and enforceable, concluding that to invalidate it on the basis of one party's fault would contravene the agreement's clear and unambiguous language, and that as a matter of law, the...

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