A father who appealed his parental rights termination from Juvenile to Circuit Court, but skipped the trial of his appeal, can be treated as waiving the right to appeal, when he had been involved in the litigation and presumably knew of his upcoming trial date, but then moved to Texas three weeks before it, the Va. Court of Appeals says.
The deciding rule is from Va. Code § 16.1-106.1:
D. If a party who has appealed a judgment or order of a district court fails to appear in circuit court either at the time for setting the appeal for trial or on the trial date, the circuit court may, upon the motion of any party, enter an order treating the appeal as withdrawn and disposing of the case in accordance with this section.
There is no indication that this being a termination of parental rights case makes the rule any more or less strict than in any other juvenile-court appeals falling under this statute on “Withdrawal of appeal in civil cases.” However, the Court cites the three years the child had already languished in foster care, as well as the father’s conduct in the litigation and his sudden move, as reasons why the Circuit Court was right to use its discretion to find that the father had voluntarily “withdrawn” his appeal when he did not show up for it.
Blake v. Norfolk DSS (unpublished, 5/19/15) VLW 6-1-15 p 16