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Name: In re M.R. et al.
Case #: E064621
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/20/2017
Summary

Juvenile court did not err by granting presumed father status to a man who, although not the biological father, had a strong relationship with the minor and considered him a son. After mother left her five children with maternal grandmother, grandmother contacted the Agency, who filed petitions with respect to each of the minors. At the detention hearing, S.H. requested that one of the minors, Ro.R., be placed with him, claiming he had a parental relationship with the child since birth. The social worker confirmed with the minor that he wanted to live with S.H. and saw him as his father. Mother asserted that R.R. was the biological father of Ro.R., and that S.H. was merely a friend. R.R. was incarcerated and had not seen the minor since 2006. S.H. testified that he considered Ro.R. his son, that he had openly held Ro.R. out as his son to others, and that Ro.R. called him “dad” and called S.H.’s parents “grandma” and “grandpa.” The juvenile court designated both S.H. and R.R. as presumed fathers, and dismissed the dependency petition with respect to Ro.R., placing him with S.H. R.R. appealed, arguing that S.H. was merely a friend, not a father. The appellate court disagreed, finding no error. Substantial evidence supported the juvenile court’s conclusions that a parent-child relationship developed between S.H. and Ro.R., and it would be detrimental to Ro.R. if only R.R. were to be recognized as his presumed father. Section 7612 allows the court to declare more than two parents if recognizing only two parents would be detrimental to the child. Here, S.H. had a long relationship with Ro.R. and considered him a son. He showed concern and care for his wellbeing. The ruling regarding Ro.R.’s best interests is supported by the fact that S.H. can provide a “more ordered life” than mother or R.R. have been able to provide.