Benjamin S. v. Crystal S.

Nebraska Supreme Court Online Library 03/17/2023 09:04 AM CDT - 799 - Nebraska Supreme Court Advance Sheets 313 Nebraska Reports BENJAMIN S. V. CRYSTAL S. Cite as 313 Neb. 799 Benjamin S., appellee, v. Crystal S., appellant. ___ N.W.2d ___ Filed March 17, 2023. No. S-22-123. 1. Parental Rights: Judgments: Appeal and Error. Termination of parental rights cases raised under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42-364(5) (Cum. Supp. 2022) are reviewed de novo on the record, and an appellate court is required to reach a conclusion independent of the lower court’s findings. 2. Evidence: Appeal and Error. When the evidence is in conflict, the appellate court will consider and give weight to the fact that the lower court observed the witnesses and accepted one version of the facts over the other. 3. Parental Rights. Whereas statutory grounds are based on a parent’s past conduct, the best interests inquiry focuses on the future well-being of the child. 4. Parental Rights: Presumptions. There is a rebuttable presumption that it is in the child’s best interests to share a relationship with his or her parent. 5. Parental Rights: Words and Phrases. Parental unfitness means a personal deficiency or incapacity that has prevented, or will probably prevent, performance of a reasonable parental obligation in child rear- ing and that has caused, or probably will result in, detriment to a child’s well-being. Appeal from the District Court for Cheyenne County: Randin R. Roland, County Judge. Reversed and remanded for further proceedings. Michael D. Samuelson, of Reynolds, Korth & Samuelson, P.C., L.L.O., for appellant. - 800 - Nebraska Supreme Court Advance Sheets 313 Nebraska Reports BENJAMIN S. V. CRYSTAL S. Cite as 313 Neb. 799 Sterling T. Huff, P.C., L.L.O., for appellee. Heavican, C.J., Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Funke, Papik, and Freudenberg, JJ. Papik, J. Benjamin S. filed a motion asking that the parental rights of Crystal S., his ex-wife, be terminated. Following a trial, the district court terminated Crystal’s parental rights. Crystal appeals. Because we find that the record does not contain clear and convincing evidence that termination of Crystal’s parental rights is in the children’s best interests, we reverse the order of termination and remand the cause for further proceedings. BACKGROUND Dissolution Decree. Benjamin and Crystal have three children, born in 2011, 2012, and 2014, respectively. Benjamin and Crystal married in 2014, and Benjamin filed for dissolution the following year. The district court entered the dissolution decree on September 21, 2015. The decree awarded Benjamin full legal and physical cus- tody of the children. Crystal received parenting time under the decree every Wednesday evening and every other Saturday. The decree required Crystal’s visits to be supervised and ordered that they would remain supervised until Crystal pro- vided the district court with an affidavit and treatment plan from a mental health provider stating that Crystal was not a threat to herself or her children and that she was completing a program to address drug and alcohol addiction. The decree also required Crystal to be sober during …

Original document
Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals