Family Law

Recent Dependency Law Cases

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Dependency (current through 10/21/2023)

By:  John Nieman

The precise holdings in a given case are bolded.

In re Jose. C.

In re Jose. C.
10/9/23, CA 2/7 B317838

Father appealed the jurisdictional and dispositional orders that removed his children from his care and custody. The children ultimately remained with the mother. Subsequently, a mediated agreement was reached and the case dismissed. The agreement granted joint physical and legal custody, with primary residence with the mother. Father did not appeal that decision but argued that the previous decisions in the case constricted his access to the children as previously it was not so restricted prior to court involvement. The appellate court ruled that because he didn’t appeal the dismissal orders the original appeal was moot. The court went on to cite In re D.P. (2023) 14 Cal.5th 266 about the 3 reasons why review may be granted, despite mootness. It concluded that here there was only one possible avenue which was not requested and would not provide meaningful relief in any event. Nor did the father contradict In re Rashad D. (2021) 63 Cal.App.5th 156, that without the second appeal the appellate court has no jurisdiction to change the exit orders.

In re C.L.

In re C.L.
10/13/23, CA 3 C097911

This is an Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) case. Father appeals termination of his parental rights for failure to adequately inquire into his native American ancestry. This appellate court also sides with the In re Delila D., published7/21/23 [(CA 4/2: E080389) Reviewed here. It appears that review was granted by the Supreme Court on 8/22, S281447], that issuance of a protective custody warrant vis Welfare and Institutions Code (W&I) §340 does not impact the depth of inquiry required by W&I §224.2. In this case father also declared significant Cherokee ancestry which was also inadequately investigated (apparently by concluding that the level of relationship asserted would be inadequate to qualify for membership). Finding the initial inquiry inadequate (prior to termination of parental rights) the case is remanded conditionally to inquire adequately, comply with the ICWA (if found applicable), or (if ICWA inapplicable) reinstate the ICWA not applicable finding.

In re R.Q., et al

In re R.Q., et al
10/16/23, CA 4/2: E080765

Presumed Father challenges placement with the non-offending biological father in Missouri after removal from him. While acknowledging that some cases indicate placement with a prior noncustodial parent under W&I §361.2 does not include a mere biological parent (citing In re Zacharia D. (1993) 6 Cal.4th 435, among others), this court contends that the broader authority of the juvenile court to act in the child’s best interests prevails (citing In re A.J. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 525). In this case the biological father had a preexisting relationship as well as having improved the quality of his relationship with the minor during significant post-detention visitation. Presumed father objected to placement on legal grounds, but failed to raise factual issues in the trial court which he did on appeal, such as the interfere with the sibling relationship placement of the minor so far away would cause. The appellate court affirmed since all of the information father raised on appeal was part of the record and therefore presumptively known to the trial court.

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