(1) This rule applies to all proceedings in which termination of parental rights is sought. Proceedings for termination of parental rights involving an Indian child, are governed by 25 USC 1912 in addition to this rule.
(2) Parental rights of the respondent over the child may not be terminated unless termination was requested in an original, amended, or supplemental petition by:
(a) the agency,
(b) the child,
(c) the guardian, legal custodian, or representative of the child,
(d) a concerned person as defined in MCL 712A.19b(6),
(e) the state children's ombudsman, or
(f) the prosecuting attorney, without regard to whether the prosecuting attorney is representing or acting as a legal consultant to the agency or any other party.
(3) The burden of proof is on the party seeking by court order to terminate the rights of the respondent over the child. There is no right to a jury determination.
(B) Definition. When used in this rule, unless the context otherwise indicates, “respondent” includes
(1) the natural or adoptive mother of the child;
(2) the father of the child as defined by MCR 3.903(A)(7).
“Respondent” does not include other persons to whom legal custody has been given by court order, persons who are acting in the place of the mother or father, or other persons responsible for the control, care, and welfare of the child.
(C) Notice; Priority.
(1) Notice must be given as provided in MCR 3.920 and MCR 3.921(B)(3).
(2) Hearings on petitions seeking termination of parental rights shall be given the highest possible priority consistent with the orderly conduct of the court’s caseload.
(D) Suspension of Parenting Time. If a petition to terminate parental rights to a child is filed, the court may suspend parenting time for a parent who is a subject of the petition.
(E) Termination of Parental Rights at the Initial Disposition. The court shall order termination of the parental rights of a respondent at the initial dispositional hearing held pursuant to MCR 3.973, and shall order that additional efforts for reunification of the child with the respondent shall not be made, if
(1) the original, or amended, petition contains a request for termination;
(2) at the trial or plea proceedings, the trier of fact finds by a preponderance of the evidence that one or more of the grounds for assumption of jurisdiction over the child under MCL 712A.2(b) have been established;
(3) at the initial disposition hearing, the court finds on the basis of clear and convincing legally admissible evidence that had been introduced at the trial or plea proceedings, or that is introduced at the dispositional hearing, that one or more facts alleged in the petition:
(a) are true, and
(b) establish grounds for termination of parental rights under MCL 712A.19b(3)(a), (b), (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), (i), (j), (k), (l), (m), or (n);
(4) termination of parental rights is in the child’s best interests.
(F) Termination of Parental Rights on the Basis of Different Circumstances. The court may take action on a supplemental petition that seeks to terminate the parental rights of a respondent over a child already within the jurisdiction of the court on the basis of one or more circumstances new or different from the offense that led the court to take jurisdiction.
(1) The court must order termination of the parental rights of a respondent, and must order that additional efforts for reunification of the child with the respondent must not be made, if
(a) the supplemental petition for termination of parental rights contains a request for termination;
(b) at the hearing on the supplemental petition, the court finds on the basis of clear and convincing legally admissible evidence that one or more of the facts alleged in the supplemental petition:
(i) are true; and
(ii) come within MCL 712A.19b(3)(a), (b), (c)(ii), (d), (e), (f), (g), (i), (j), (k), (l), (m), or (n); and
(c) termination of parental rights is in the child’s best interests.
(2) Time for Hearing on Petition. The hearing on a supplemental petition for termination of parental rights under this subrule shall be held within 42 days after the filing of the supplemental petition. The court may, for good cause shown, extend the period for an additional 21 days.
(G) Termination of Parental Rights; Indian Child
In addition to the required findings in this rule, the parental rights of a parent of an Indian child must not be terminated unless:
(1) the court is satisfied that active efforts as defined in MCR 3.002 have been made to provide remedial service and rehabilitative programs designed to prevent the breakup of the Indian family and that these efforts have proved unsuccessful, and
(2) the court finds evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, including testimony of at least one qualified expert witness as described in MCL 712B.17, that parental rights should be terminated because continued custody of the child by the parent or Indian custodian will likely result in serious emotional or physical damage to the child.
(H) Termination of Parental Rights; Other. If the parental rights of a respondent over the child were not terminated pursuant to subrule (E) at the initial dispositional hearing or pursuant to subrule (F) at a hearing on a supplemental petition on the basis of different circumstances, and the child is within the jurisdiction of the court, the court must, if the child is in foster care, or may, if the child is not in foster care, following a dispositional review hearing under MCR 3.975, a progress review under MCR 3.974, or a permanency planning hearing under MCR 3.976, take action on a supplemental petition that seeks to terminate the parental rights of a respondent over the child on the basis of one or more grounds listed in MCL 712A.19b(3).
(a) Filing Petition. The supplemental petition for termination of parental rights may be filed at any time after the initial dispositional review hearing, progress review, or permanency planning hearing, whichever occurs first.
(b) Hearing on Petition. The hearing on a supplemental petition for termination of parental rights under this subrule must be held within 42 days after the filing of the supplemental petition. The court may, for good cause shown, extend the period for an additional 21 days.
(2) Evidence. The Michigan Rules of Evidence do not apply, other than those with respect to privileges, except to the extent such privileges are abrogated by MCL 722.631. At the hearing all relevant and material evidence, including oral and written reports, may be received by the court and may be relied upon to the extent of its probative value. The parties must be afforded an opportunity to examine and controvert written reports received by the court and shall be allowed to cross-examine individuals who made the reports when those individuals are reasonably available.
(3) Order. The court must order termination of the parental rights of a respondent and must order that additional efforts for reunification of the child with the respondent must not be made, if the court finds
(a) on the basis of clear and convincing evidence admitted pursuant to subrule (H)(2) that one or more facts alleged in the petition:
(i) are true; and
(ii) come within MCL 712A.19b(3).
(b) that termination of parental rights is in the child’s best interests.
(1) General. The court shall state on the record or in writing its findings of fact and conclusions of law. Brief, definite, and pertinent findings and conclusions on contested matters are sufficient. If the court does not issue a decision on the record following hearing, it shall file its decision within 28 days after the taking of final proofs, but no later than 70 days after the commencement of the hearing to terminate parental rights.
(2) Denial of Termination. If the court finds that the parental rights of respondent should not be terminated, the court must make findings of fact and conclusions of law.
(3) Order of Termination. An order terminating parental rights under the Juvenile Code may not be entered unless the court makes findings of fact, states its conclusions of law, and includes the statutory basis for the order.
(J) Respondent's Rights Following Termination.
(1) Advice. Immediately after entry of an order terminating parental rights, the court shall advise the respondent parent orally or in writing that:
(a) The respondent is entitled to appellate review of the order.
(b) If the respondent is financially unable to provide an attorney to perfect an appeal, the court will appoint an attorney and furnish the attorney with the portions of the transcript and record the attorney requires to appeal.
(c) A request for the assistance of an attorney must be made within 14 days after notice of the order is given or an order is entered denying a timely filed postjudgment motion. The court must then give a form to the respondent with the instructions (to be repeated on the form) that if the respondent desires the appointment of an attorney, the form must be returned to the court within the required period (to be stated on the form).
(d) The respondent has the right to file a denial of release of identifying information, a revocation of a denial of release, and to keep current the respondent's name and address as provided in MCL 710.27.
(2) Appointment of Attorney.
(a) If a request is timely filed and the court finds that the respondent is financially unable to provide an attorney, the court shall appoint an attorney within 14 days after the respondent's request is filed. The chief judge of the court shall bear primary responsibility for ensuring that the appointment is made within the deadline stated in this rule.
(b) In a case involving the termination of parental rights, the order described in (J)(2) and (3) must be entered on a form approved by the State Court Administrator's Office, entitled “Claim of Appeal and Order Appointing Counsel,” and the court must immediately send to the Court of Appeals a copy of the Claim of Appeal and Order Appointing Counsel, a copy of the judgment or order being appealed, and a copy of the complete register of actions in the case. The court must also file in the Court of Appeals proof of having made service of the Claim of Appeal and Order Appointing Counsel on the respondent(s), appointed counsel for the respondent(s), the court reporter(s)/recorder(s), petitioner, the prosecuting attorney, the lawyer-guardian ad litem for the child(ren) under MCL 712A.13a(1)(f), and the guardian ad litem or attorney (if any) for the child(ren). Entry of the order by the trial court pursuant to this subrule constitutes a timely filed claim of appeal for the purposes of MCR 7.204.
(3) Transcripts. If the court finds that the respondent is financially unable to pay for the preparation of transcripts for appeal, the court must order transcripts prepared at public expense.
(K) Review Standard. The clearly erroneous standard shall be used in reviewing the court's findings on appeal from an order terminating parental rights.