WILMINGTON, DEL.—Termination of parental rights is a difficult, painful legal procedure, but sometimes, it is necessary to protect the health and safety of the children involved.
Such is a recent case in Delaware, where Womble Bond Dickinson attorneys Morgan Patterson and Nick Verna successfully represented four small children (ages three to eight) before the Delaware Supreme Court. Patterson and Verna worked the case on a pro bono basis for over two and half years through the state’s Office of the Child Advocate, a non-judicial state agency charged with safeguarding the welfare of Delaware’s children. Patterson and Verna started representing the clients in late 2015.
In November 2017, the Delaware Family Court terminated the parental rights of the mother, who then appealed to the state’s Supreme Court. The children had been placed in foster care in late 2015 after the mother repeatedly failed to provide adequate care for the children.
The Delaware Supreme Court upheld the Family Court’s decision on June 28, finding that the mother had failed to plan adequately for her children’s needs and that termination was in the best interest of the children. The court’s decision means the four children are now free to be adopted. The two older children will be adopted by one family located in a nearby state, while the two younger children will be adopted by another family that is located outside of Wilmington.
Verna also represented the four children’s youngest sibling, who was born in late 2017, and was successfully adopted by his forever family earlier in June 2018 (the termination of the parental rights of the youngest sibling were not appealed and were not at issue in the Delaware Supreme Court case).
The children are excited to begin their lives with their foster families, and all of the foster parents are committed to working to allow the children to maintain relationships with their birth siblings.
Morgan Patterson’s practice focuses on bankruptcy and creditor’s rights in complex Chapter 11 proceedings. Patterson represents both debtors and a variety of secured and unsecured creditors. She is also experienced in representing liquidating trusts and official committees.
Nick Verna represents debtors, prospective purchasers, individual secured and unsecured creditors, and official committees of unsecured creditors in complex commercial bankruptcy cases. Verna also maintains an active litigation practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.