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Name: In re Jacob S.
Case #: G030585
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 12/23/2002
Subsequent History: None

Maria, the mother of three minors, appealed the order terminating her parental rights on the grounds that termination of parental rights would substantially interfere with the siblings’ relationships with each other. The appellate court found that Maria had standing to raise the issue in this appeal. However, the fact that the children had close bonds was not enough, but it must be sufficiently significant to cause detriment on termination. If the court finds detriment, it must weigh the child’s interest in maintaining the relationships against the benefit of adoption. Even assuming substantial detriment in this case, the court reasonably concluded that such detriment would be outweighed by the benefits of adoption. There was no realistic expectation that within a reasonable time these siblings could live together. There was also no evidence that the relationships between the siblings would cease upon termination of parental rights. The grandparents stated that they wished to help the siblings continue their relationships, and had been facilitating visitation between the two minors in their custody and the third minor. The appellate court also rejected the challenge to the third minor’s adoption based on his adoptability (he was a quadriplegic) as premature, since the trial court continued the case for 180 days in order to determine whether the minor would be adoptable.