The Court of Appeals upholds termination of parental rights for a father who moved to Texas shortly before trial of his termination case and did not appear for the trial.
Appellant’s daughter was in foster care for almost three years by the time the case reached the circuit court for trial. Despite this prolonged period and the importance of the proceedings, appellant voluntarily removed himself from Virginia two to three weeks prior to trial. Counsel and the guardian ad litem described appellant as having been rude, difficult and an “obstructionist” throughout the prior proceedings. Although counsel did state appellant appeared to have been more polite in the prior few weeks, she was surprised he did not return to Virginia for the hearing.
Given the lengthy time the matter already had been pending and appellant’s decision to move just days prior to the court hearing, the record supports the trial court finding that appellant was voluntarily waiving his right to appeal.
The trial court did not err by dismissing the appeal pursuant to Va. Code § 16.1-106.1(D).
Blake v. Norfolk Dep’t of Social Servs. (Per Curiam) No. 2027-14-1, May 19, 2015; Norfolk Cir.Ct. (Martin) Daymen Robinson for appellant; Tamele Y. Hobson, Ass’t City Att’y; Robert McL. Smith III, GAL. VLW 015-7-155(UP), 3 pp.