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Name: In re D.O.
Case #: D069105
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/03/2016

Juvenile court did not err in finding sibling relationship exception was inapplicable. Mother’s rights to D.O, age one, were terminated following a dependency proceeding. Mother had three older children by another father. On appeal, mother and the siblings jointly contended that the juvenile court erred by finding the sibling relationship exception to adoption did not apply. (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 366.26, subd. (c)(1)(B)(v).) They argued that the trial court erred when determining whether there would be substantial interference with D.O.’s sibling relationships by improperly considering the caregivers’ “unenforceable commitment to continue sibling visits,” instead of considering the statutory factors. Held: Affirmed. The juvenile court cited five evidentiary bases supporting its conclusion. It did not rely solely on unsupported assurances of future visits. Even if the juvenile court had erred in determining that there would be no substantial interference with the sibling relationship, the error would not be prejudicial because it was not probable that appellants would have obtained a more favorable result absent the error. Although the minor enjoyed visits with her half siblings, there was no evidence that the detriment that she might suffer if visits ceased outweighed the benefit of adoption by caretakers to whom she was closely bonded.