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Name: In re Allison C.
Case #: G039141
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 07/11/2008

Substantial evidence supported the court’s conclusion that the father abandoned the minor. The mother lived with the minor’s father for the first six months of the minor’s life in 2001, but the mother and the minor moved out after she was struck by father. They refrained from contact with him. The father then was incarcerated for domestic violence from October 2001 to February 2003. He visited the minor without the mother’s knowledge every other weekend at his brother’s house until he was incarcerated again in late 2003. The stepfather was involved in the minor’s life since early, 2003, and in 2005, he married the mother. He also filed a request to adopt the minor, who was now four years old. The father refused to consent to the adoption. When he was released from prison, he was allowed supervised visitation at first, but his parole officer cut off the visitation. In late 2005, the stepfather petitioned the court to declare the minor free from the father’s custody under Family Code section 7822, parental abandonment. The petition was granted, and the father appealed. On appeal, he contended that insufficient evidence supported the findings that he left the minor, intended to abandon her, and did not support or communicate with her. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. Substantial evidence supported the court’s finding that the father abandoned the by his act of domestic violence, and then never sought to take parental responsibility for her. Even when he visited the minor, he did so secretly, and never sought custody or visitation rights. He voluntarily abdicated the parental role. The amount of money the father provided was insufficient to show support, and the father’s incarceration resulted from his own actions. The father also failed to communicate with the minor for three years. Coupled with the finding of nonsupport for the same period, there was sufficient evidence to show the father intended to abandon the minor. The trial court correctly applied the law.