The Termination of Parental Rights in California

     In 2009 the California Supreme Court held that a father's due process rights were not violated when his parental rights were terminated because the Court determined this was in his daughter's best interests pursuant to California Probate Code §1516.5. (In re Charlotte D. (2009) 45 Cal.wt 1140).
     In this case, the grandparents were appointed guardians of a minor child and sought to adopt her after 6 years. As part of the adoption process, the grandparents also sought to terminate her birth parents rights pursuant to California Probate Code §1516.5. The trial court ruled to terminate parental rights based solely on the child's best interest and without a showing of the father's unfitness. The Court of Appeals reversed finding that termination was improper because no due process was afforded to the father since there was no finding that he was unfit. 

   In 2009 the Supreme Court reversed reasoning that Probate Code 1516.5 can be used to terminate the parental rights (with the exception of possibly visitation) when a minor has spent at least two years in a probateguardian's custody. During which a showing of parental unfitness was made so a further showing of parental unfitness is not required at the time of the hearing and the termination of parental rights is determined based on the child's best interests.

For more information about Guardianships in California contact an Experienced California Probate Attorney.
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