Once a parent has acquiesced to a termination of parental rights, he or she has no remaining legal interest in the child’s affairs. This means the parent also does not have standing to appeal orders relating to the child’s placement. A recent California Supreme Case affirmed this rule.
In In re K.C., 52 Cal. 4th 231 (2011), K.C. was one of eight siblings, two of whom were deceased and the other five of whom were placed with grandparents after separate juvenile dependency proceedings resulting in the termination of Mother’s and Father’s parental rights as to the five siblings. While an infant, K.C. was removed from his mother’s custody and placed with a foster family who wished to adopt him. K.C.’s grandparents petitioned for K.C. to be placed with them, however, the child services agency doubted their ability to care for a sixth child and was concerned with the parents’ continued access to the kids. Father did not object to the termination of his parental rights and supported Grandparent’s request. The trial court denied Grandparents’ petition and they failed to timely appeal. Instead, Father appealed the order. However, he did not object to the judgment terminating his parental rights but limited his argument to the issue of K.C.’s placement.
On appeal, the Fifth District Court of Appeal dismissed Father’s appeal and held that Father could not show that the placement decision affected his parental rights and he thus was not aggrieved by the decision. The California Supreme Court affirmed this decision. Only an aggrieved person has standing to appeal, otherwise the party does not have rights or interests injuriously affected by the decision in an immediate and substantial way. Since Father acquiesced to the termination of his parental rights, he relinquished the only interest in K.C. that could render him an aggrieved party.
Throughout child custody or parental termination proceedings, proper objections must be made if a parent does not want to risk losing standing to appeal judgments concerning the child. The Certified Family Law Specialists* at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri have decades of experience handling complex child custody and divorce issues. If you are contemplating divorce, please contact the Certified Family Law Specialists* at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri, who can provide you with an in depth analysis of your issues. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.
*Certified Family Law Specialist, The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization