August 2, 2007
Case Law Development: Reinstating Parental Rights after Termination
The California Court of Appeals has held that an individual who has had her parental rights terminated may not thereafter seek reinstatement of her legal rights through the presumed parenthood statute. The case involved a mother whose parental rights were terminated and her child was adopted by his sibling's father, who thereafter allowed the child contact with the mother. When the state brought a second dependency action against the adoptive father, both the mother and the child moved to allow mother to intervene in the action as a de facto parent.
Mother argued that allowing assertions of presumed parent status when parental rights were previously terminated is proper in a second dependency proceeding against an adoptive parent, because “[f]or many children who were adopted by relatives or family friends, the social, emotional relationship between biological parent and child continues.” Mother’s children wanted to return to her and mother’s social worker supported her position.
The court found that the plain language of the statute, however, would allow a collateral attack on a termination action and concluded that “any exception to the statute for circumstances such as those here would have to come from the Legislature. There is simply no statute that would allow [Mother] to be designated a presumed mother after the termination of her parental rights."
In re Cody B., 2007 Cal. App. LEXIS 1238 (July 27, 2007)
Opinion on line (last visited August 1, 2007 bgf)
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