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Name: In re Eric E.
Case #: B173908
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 03/02/2006

The minor, Eric, was removed from mother and her husband, Robert. At the detention hearing, Robert requested the court find him to be Eric’s presumed father. The court found him to be an alleged father. Subsequently, Eric’s biological father, Gene, appeared, and was also offered reunification services as an alleged father. Gene failed to reunify, and his reunification services were ordered terminated. Meanwhile, Robert complied with his case plan and was given custody of Eric and his brother. Eric was closely bonded to Robert and to his brother. Both fathers filed motions to be declared Eric’s presumed father. The trial court granted Robert’s motion, and denied Gene’s. Gene appealed, contending that the juvenile court was required to find him to be Eric’s presumed father because he signed a voluntary declaration of paternity. The appellate court disagreed, and affirmed the orders. Gene’s motion for presumed father status must be deemed a section 388 petition because Gene waited until after the reunification period was terminated and a section 366.26 hearing set. As a 388 petition, it could not prevail as there was no evidence that it was in Eric’s best interest to modify the previous orders. Further, Gene lacked standing to challenge the court’s finding that Robert was Eric’s presumed father.