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Name: In re M.Z. et al
Case #: D070365
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/03/2016

Mother’s boyfriend properly denied third parent status to mother’s children because substantial evidence supported the conclusion that he lacked a parent-child relationship with them. The two minors were the biological children of mother and her husband. Mother and husband separated, and mother had three children with her boyfriend, Anthony R. After one of those children was found dead in mother’s care, a petition was filed alleging substance abuse by mother and Anthony. The court found that husband was the presumed father of the older two minors, and that Anthony was the presumed father for his biological children with mother. Anthony moved for status as a third parent under section 7612, subdivision (c). The juvenile court denied it, concluding that the statute did not apply because there was no ongoing relationship between Anthony and the minors, and Anthony had not been “much of a parent” given his persistent use of drugs and criminal activity. Anthony appealed, and the appellate court affirmed. Substantial evidence supported the juvenile court’s finding that section 7612, subdivision (c) was inapplicable due to a lack of existing parent-child relationship. Neither minor reported a true parent-child relationship or bond with Anthony. There was no evidence of financial support, and Anthony did not consistently live with or care for the minors. Reviewing the record as a whole, section 7612, subdivision (c) did not apply because Anthony failed to show an existing parent-child relationship or bond with the minors “such that recognizing only two parents would be detrimental.”