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New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency v. C.A.S.-B.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

May 30, 2013

NEW JERSEY DIVISION OF CHILD PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
C.A.S.-B. and J.J.B., Defendants-Appellants. IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP OF S.L.B. AND M.L.B., MINORS.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted May 21, 2013.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Morris County, Docket No. FG-14-40-12.

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant C.A.S.-B. (Deric Wu, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, on the brief).

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, attorney for appellant J.J.B. (Albert M. Afonso, Designated Counsel, on the brief).

Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Attorney General, attorney for respondent New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (Andrea M. Silkowitz, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Alexis Goldberger, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).

Joseph E. Krakora, Public Defender, Law Guardian, attorney for S.L.B. and M.L.B., minors (Maria Emilia Borges, Assistant Deputy Public Defender, on the brief).

Before Reisner and Harris Judges.

PER CURIAM

Defendants C.A.S.-B. (Caryn) and J.J.B. (John), appeal from the Family Part's September 26, 2012 final judgment of guardianship terminating parental rights to their two daughters S.L.B. (Sophie) and M.L.B. (Molly), [1] who are living with relative resource parents who wish to adopt them. We affirm substantially for the reasons expressed by Judge Mary Gibbons Whipple in her thorough thirty-one page written opinion. We add the following comments.

Except for John's separate argument that Judge Gibbons Whipple abused her discretion in failing to grant an adjournment of the trial due to the late delivery of discovery materials, Caryn and John both contend that the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (the Division) failed in multiple respects to prove each of the four factors of N.J.S.A. 30:4C-15.1(a)'s best-interests-of-the-child test by clear and convincing evidence. Our review of the record convinces us that Judge Gibbons Whipple neither abused her discretion vis-à-vis the scheduling of the trial nor otherwise erred in assessing the Division's proofs and ordering the termination of Caryn's and John's parental rights.

I.

The trial evidence is detailed at length in Judge Gibbons Whipple's opinion. We have reviewed the record, conclude that her factual findings are supported by ample credible evidence, and deem Caryn's and John's arguments to the contrary meritless. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(A); -3(e)(1)(E); see also, N.J. Div. of Youth & Family Servs. v. M.M., 189 N.J. 261, 279 (2007) (holding a reviewing court should uphold the factual findings respecting the termination of parental rights if they are supported by substantial credible evidence in the record as a whole).

In summary, the Division's involvement with the family began more than a year before Sophie was born. For years, Caryn and John endured a tempestuous relationship that culminated in episodes of domestic violence punctuated by bouts of mental illness, followed by serial efforts at therapy. Following multiple interventions by the Division, the Family Part —— in a separate 2008 Title Nine proceeding —— found that John abused and neglected his children; Caryn stipulated that she ...


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