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In re Ariana S.

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

May 28, 2015

IN RE ARIANA S., ET AL. [1]

Assigned on Briefs March 11, 2015

Appeal from the Juvenile Court for Davidson County No. 20081662, 20085325, PT182266 Betty K. Adams Green, Judge

Thomas H. Miller, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Raymond S.

M. Allen Ehmling and Elizabeth R. McClellan, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellee, the Association for Guidance, Aid, Placement and Empathy, Inc.

Cynthia Hazelwood Moore, Nashville, Tennessee, Guardian ad litem.

Richard H. Dinkins, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Frank G. Clement, Jr., P. J., M. S., and W. Neal McBrayer, J. joined.

OPINION

RICHARD H. DINKINS, JUDGE

Two children, Ariana S. (d/o/b April 2002) and Luis S. (d/o/b February 2003), were born out of wedlock to Jessica S. ("Mother") and Raymond S. ("Father"). The record is not entirely clear regarding the history of the children and their custodial placements; these are the findings of the Trial Court pertinent to the issues raised in this appeal and are not contested:

• [Father] lived with the birth [Mother] and the children from 2002 and 2006.
• [Father] was incarcerated for six (6) months in 2006 for failure to pay child support on another child.
• [Father] was employed at McDonalds in 2006.
• The last time [Father] saw Luis and Ariana was in February 2007. At that time, Luis was four (4) and Ariana was five (5).
• [Father] was not incarcerated in 2007 when he left his children to move to Puerto Rico.
• [Father] knew the whereabouts of his children when he left his children in 2007 and moved to Puerto Rico. The children were living with their birth [Mother] in Nashville, TN.
• At trial, [Father] offered no reason or excuse as to why he left his children and moved to Puerto Rico in 2007.
• [Father's] last phone contact with Luis and Arianna was in 2010. During this time, the children were living with their maternal grandmother, Deborah England. He maintained phone contact on and off for approximately one month in 2010.
• By his own admission at trial, [Father] has failed to financially support his children since 2006. In 2007, when he left the children to move to Puerto Rico, [Father] knew where the children were living and where to send support and gifts. He testified the children were living with their mother in Nashville, TN. Also, by his own admission at trial, he failed to provide any gifts, letters or cards to his children from 2007 up to the date of his incarceration on September 28, 2012.
• [Father] was not incarcerated in March 2012 when the maternal grandmother, Deborah England, entered into a voluntary placement agreement with AGAPE.[2]
• Mary Corwin, AGAPE case manager, received the case in March 2012. After receiving the case, she attempted to contact the [F]ather at a number she had been provided. When she asked to speak with the [Father], the person who answered said, "No, " ...

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