State of Utah in the interest of N.A.M.Annotate this Case
State of Utah, in the interest
a person under eighteen years of age.
D.M. and A.M.,
State of Utah,
(Not For Official Publication)
Case No. 981050-CA
F I L E D
November 12, 1999
1999 UT App 327
Eighth District Juvenile,
The Honorable Scott N. Johansen
Julie George McPherson, Salt Lake City, for Appellants
Jan Graham, Carol L.C. Verdoia, and John Peterson, Salt Lake City, and Clark B. Allred, and Gayle F. McKeachnie, Roosevelt, for Appellee
Martha Pierce and Cleve J. Hatch, Salt Lake City, Guardians Ad Litem
Before Judges Billings, Davis, and Jackson.
Appellants D.M. and A.M., respectively the father and mother of their daughter N.A.M., appeal the trial court's order terminating their parental rights. Because appellants fail to challenge one of the independent grounds for terminating their parental rights, we affirm.
The trial court first determined there were grounds for termination as follows: (1) appellants abandoned N.A.M. by consciously disregarding their parental obligations; (2) A.M. neglected N.A.M. by failing to provide necessary care; (3) D.M. was unfit or incompetent and hence unable to care for N.A.M.'s needs; (4) appellants "were unwilling or unable to remedy the circumstances that caused the out of home placement [and] there is a substantial likelihood that the [appellants] will not be capable of exercising proper parental care in the near future;" (5) there was a failure of parental adjustment; and (6) appellants made only token efforts or no effort to support or communicate with N.A.M., eliminate the risk of abuse, and avoid being unfit. These grounds are set out in Utah Code Ann. § 78-3a-407(1) to (6) (1996). The court further determined that termination of appellants' parental rights was in the best interests of N.A.M., see id. § 78-3a-402(2) (1996), and accordingly entered an order of termination.
On appeal, appellants argue that the trial court's determinations with respect to five of six grounds for termination were unsupported by its findings. Appellants further assail two of the court's factual findings as clearly erroneous: first, that D.M. was unable to care for himself, insofar as it relates to the court's conclusion that D.M. was unfit to parent; and second, that appellants attended only five of six parenting sessions.(1)
Appellants, however, raise no challenge to the trial court's determination that grounds exist for termination of appellants' parental rights pursuant to Utah Code Ann. § 78-3a-407(4) (1996), because appellants "were unwilling or unable to remedy the circumstances that caused the out of home placement [and] there is a substantial likelihood that [appellants] will not be capable of exercising proper parental care in the near future." "As a result, we accept [this determination] as adequately supported by the record . . . ." In re M.E.C., 942 P.2d 955, 960 (Utah Ct. App. 1997). Moreover, the Utah Code provides that "the court may terminate all parental rights with respect to one or both parents if it finds any one of the [prescribed grounds]." Utah Code Ann. § 78-3a-407 (1996) (emphasis added); see also In re M.E.C., 942 P.2d at 960. Hence, because appellants raise no challenge to this independent basis for termination of their parental rights, we must affirm. Further, because this basis alone is sufficient for affirming the court's termination order, we need not address appellants' challenge to the other grounds for termination or the court's factual findings related to those grounds. See In re M.E.C., 942 P.2d at 960 & n.3 (affirming termination order without addressing challenge to finding parent made only token efforts because parent did not challenge findings of neglect or unfitness).
James Z. Davis, Judge
Judith M. Billings, Judge
Norman H. Jackson, Judge
1. Appellants do not challenge the trial court's determination that termination was in N.A.M.'s best interests.