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Alan and Sheryl Sidman v. Michael and Renee Sidman

Monday, March 15, 2010  
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Court: Supreme Court of Colorado

Topic: When biological parents seek to terminate a guardianship, which party bears the burden of proof?


While a parent does not relinquish their fundamental right in the case, custody, and control of their child by consenting to a guardianship, however overtime this shift in day-to-day care could lead to a situation where the parent loses their fundamental right. The deference to which a parent's interest is entitled at any particular point in time is determined by balancing the interests of the parents against the significant interests of the child in stability and continuity and the interest of the state in the child's welfare. At the inception of the process, the balance tends toward the interests of the parent; after years of guardianship and infrequent parental contact, the balance tends toward the interests of the child and the state parens patriae in the child's welfare. Therefore the Court is correct in placing the burden on the parents in this case to prove, by preponderance of the evidence, that terminating the non-parents' guardianship would be in the child's best interests.

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