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Name: In re Cody B.
Case #: D050351
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 07/27/2007

The juvenile court properly denied mother’s collateral attack on the termination of her parental rights by denying her motion for presumed mother status.

Mother’s rights to her biological son, Cody, were terminated in 2001, and Cody was adopted by Vincent. Vincent allowed him to live part time with mother. When Cody was subsequently removed from Vincent over four years later, mother moved to have herself designated as Cody’s “presumed mother” because of her close continuing relationship with Cody. The Department opposed the motions, citing section 366.26, subdivision (i)(1). The juvenile court denied the motion as an improper collateral attack on the earlier judgment of termination. The appellate court agreed and affirmed the judgment. Under section 366.26, subdivision (i)(1), a juvenile court lacks jurisdiction to modify or revoke an order terminating parental rights once it has become final. This section would be meaningless if a parent whose rights have been terminated where subsequently allowed to seek presumed parent status. Mother’s motion sought reinstatement of her legal rights through presumed parenthood, which would ultimately give her services and possible custody of Cody. Therefore, the motion was a collateral attack on the termination judgment, and was properly denied.