In re Guardianship of S.H. (Majority, with Concurring and Dissenting)Annotate this Case
Mother gave birth to S.H. in 2005. In 2008, Mother consented to a permanent guardianship over S.H. in favor of Father’s parents (Grandparents). Sixteen months later, Mother withdrew her consent and filed a petition to terminate the guardianship. The circuit court denied Mother’s petition to terminate the guardianship. The Supreme Court reversed, concluding that the guardianship statute, as applied to Mother, was an unconstitutional violation of her fundamental liberty interest with respect to the care, custody, and control of her child. On remand and after three separate hearings, the circuit court held that Mother had not put forth sufficient evidence to show that the guardianship was no longer necessary and that Grandparents had rebutted the presumption that termination of the guardianship was in S.H.’s best interest. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for an order returning S.H. to Mother’s custody and terminating Grandparents’ guardianship, holding that the circuit court erred (1) when it ruled that Mother failed to meet her burden going forward that the guardianship was no longer necessary; and (2) in ruling that, even if Mother met her initial burden, Grandparents rebutted the presumption that terminating the guardianship was in S.H.’s best interest.