In a Care and Protection and DCF or Termination of Parental Rights Case, what is the Burdon of Proof?
The Petitioner who is usually DCF must establish the parent(s) lacks the “ability, capacity, fitness and readiness” to provide for the best interest of the children. There are a variety of determinations that the Court must consider under the General Laws, Chapter 210 Section 3 that deal with issues of abuse, neglect, abandonment and a variety of other issues that can be looked at under the General Laws, Section 210.
In DCF are Termination of Parental Rights Case, what is the Standard of Proof?
In a criminal case the Commonwealth of the State must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt; which means to a moral certainty.
In a civil case, such as an automobile accident, the Plaintiff must show by something called a Preponderance of Evidence or anything more than 50%.
The Standard of Proof at trial on the DCF case is clear and convincing evidence. It is something that does not reach the level of beyond a reasonable doubt, but it is more than a Preponderance of Evidence. Its heighten meaning that it is more than a civil case, but again less than a criminal case. There are more legal definitions.
In addition, it is about the current unfitness, so there can be points where the parent was unfit previously, but currently unfit.