In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of N.C. (Minor Child),
The Indiana Department of Child Services, Appellee-Petitioner. and C.G.G. (Father), Appellant-Respondent,
from the Spencer Circuit Court No. 74C01-1608-JT-224 The
Honorable William E. Weikert, Senior Judge
Attorney for Appellant Andrew W. Foster Wagoner, Ayer, Hargis
& Rudisill, LLC Rockport, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana James D. Boyer Deputy Attorney General
C.G.G. ("Father") appeals the denial of his motion
to dismiss a petition by the Indiana Department of Child
Services, Spencer County Division ("the DCS"), to
terminate Father's parental rights to N.C.
("Child"). Father presents the sole issue of
whether he was entitled to dismissal of the termination
petition because the fact-finding hearing was not timely
conducted pursuant to Indiana Code Section 31-35-2-6. We
and Procedural History
On March 21, 2015, Father and F.C. ("Mother") were
arrested on methamphetamine possession charges and Child was
removed from their care. On June 2, 2015, Child was
adjudicated a Child in Need of Services ("CHINS").
The parents were ordered to participate in reunification
services; however, Father remained incarcerated in Kentucky
awaiting a trial on federal drug charges and was unable to
participate in services.
On August 11, 2016, the DCS filed a petition to terminate
Father's and Mother's parental rights. A fact-finding
hearing was conducted on March 21, 2017. On April 18, 2017,
the trial court entered its findings of fact, conclusions
thereon, and order terminating Father's parental rights.
He now appeals.
Father does not challenge the factual findings of the trial
court or its conclusions thereon. Father solely challenges
the denial of his motion to dismiss the termination petition
for untimeliness of the fact-finding hearing.
Indiana Code Section 31-35-2-6 sets forth the timeline for
conducting fact- finding hearings in parental rights
termination proceedings, when a party requests a
(a) Except when a hearing is required after June 30, 1999,
under section 4.5 of this chapter, the person filing the
petition shall request the court to set the petition for a
hearing. Whenever a hearing is requested under this chapter,
the court shall:
(1) commence a hearing on the petition not more than ninety
(90) days after a petition filed ...