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November 2017 Archives

Appellate Update: Personal Signature of Party Not Required in Parental Termination Cases

In the case in re Bentley D., the Tennessee Court of Appeals considered an appeal of the judgment terminating a father's parental rights in which the father appealing the final order did not personally sign the Notice of Appeal. Upon filing, the Court of Appeals ordered the father to show cause why his appeal should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because of his failure to personally sign the notice of appeal pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-1-124(d), which states, "Any notice of appeal filed in a termination of parental rights action shall be signed by the appellant." The father filed a response to the show cause order, which included a challenge to the constitutionality of the statute at issue. The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled that an appeal of the judgment terminating a parent's rights submitted within thirty days without the father's signature was untimely, and dismissed the father's appeal.

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