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Name: In re C.M.
Case #: B255629
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 01/13/2015

Reversal was required where there was insufficient evidence of detriment shown by placing the minor with her previously noncustodial father. Robert M., the noncustodial and nonoffending father of the minor, appealed from the juvenile court’s order placing the minor with the maternal grandparents following mother’s incarceration. The juvenile court denied father’s request for placement with him, citing the fact that the minor had never lived with father and wanted to stay with her grandparents. Father challenged the dispositional order because the detriment finding was not expressly made pursuant to section 361.2, subdivision (a) or under the clear and convincing standard, and also because there was insufficient evidence of detriment. The appellate court agreed with father’s latter argument and reversed the dispositional order. There was insufficient evidence that placement with father would be detrimental to the minor’s physical or emotional well-being. While a minor’s relationship with the noncustodial parent and her wishes may be considered by the juvenile court, those factors are not determinative. There were no allegations in the petition against father, nor was there any evidence of recent domestic violence or alcohol use as alleged by mother, who had mental health issues. (In light of the court’s conclusion that insufficient evidence of detriment required remand, the court did not reach the other contention regarding the express finding.)