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Name: Adoption of H.R.
Case #: C068485
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/24/2012

There was substantial evidence to support the trial court’s finding that father qualified as a Kelsey S. father. Father sought to establish his parental rights before the minor was born. Mother pursued adoption of the minor without his consent. The trial court found father to be a Kelsey S. father, but terminated his parental rights in light of a petition for adoption filed by the prospective adoptive parents based on a best interests finding, without a finding of unfitness or detriment. The appellate court reversed and remanded. Under Kelsey S., the parental rights of a father cannot be terminated unless he is found to be statutorily unfit. Here, there was substantial evidence that supported the finding that father was a Kelsey S. father. He attempted to marry mother and sought to establish paternity and took prompt legal action to seek custody of the minor. He neither abandoned the minor nor waived his parental rights. Since he was a Kelsey S. father, a finding of unfitness was required in order to terminate his parental rights.