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Name: In re John M.
Case #: D047888
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/16/2006
Summary

Following a jurisdiction and disposition hearing, the 13-year-old minor was removed from his mother. Appellant, the noncustodial nonoffending parent, appeared at the disposition hearing, and requested custody of the minor. The court, believing it could not place the minor with his father without an ICPC evaluation, placed the minor with his aunt. The minor said he did not want to live with his father because his father lived in the country. The court found it detrimental for the minor to be placed with his father because of his relationship with a sibling, the minor’s wishes, and his mother’s reunification plan. Father appealed, contending that no ICPC evaluation was necessary, and that there was insufficient evidence of detriment to the minor if he were placed with father. The appellate court agreed and reversed. Section 361.2, subdivision (a) provides that the court must place the minor with the noncustodial parent upon request unless there is clear and convincing evidence of detriment to the child. Here, although the minor was entitled to have his wishes considered, he was not entitled to decide where he would be placed. Further, the sibling at issue had only lived with the minor a short time. The Agency did not meet its burden of proving detriment by clear and convincing evidence. Further, the conclusion that an ICPC report was required was in error.