Termination of a Father's Rights Due to Past Child Abandonment In Arizona

In In re Maricopa County Juvenile Action No. JS-500274, 167 Ariz. 1, 804 P.2d 730 (1990), the supreme court reversed a conclusion that termination of a father's rights was in the best interests of the child, holding that his past abandonment, standing alone, did not justify severance without additional proof of some affirmative benefit to the child that would result from severance. The child in that case was unrepresented by counsel, and the court noted that "the record on the issue of the best interests of the child might have been improved if the child had been appointed independent counsel." Id. at 8, 804 P.2d at 737.