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Name: In re Megan S.
Case #: D039937
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/11/2002
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 3/5/03

Parental rights to four-year-old Megan were terminated following a section 366.26 hearing. On appeal, Megan’s parents contended that the judgment should be reversed because they established Megan’s relationship to her adult sibling Stephanie. The appellate court rejected that argument. Although the two were bonded, there was no evidence that Megan would suffer detriment if her bond with Stephanie was severed. The burden was on the parents to show detriment, and they obtained no such evidence. Even if there were detriment, the court could still terminate parental rights if it determined Megan would benefit more from adoption than she would gain by maintaining her relationship to Stephanie. Megan’s interest in a permanent placement greatly outweighed the quality of the relationship she had with Stephanie. Further, Megan was not placed with Stephanie because Stephanie had a “life pattern” similar to her parents, and allowed the minor to interact with them. The court did not err in considering Stephanie’s behavior in determining whether she had a beneficial relationship with Megan that should be preserved. Also, the evidence showed that the relationship between Megan and Stephanie would not be disrupted because the social worker had located 25 potential adoptive homes which would allow sibling contact.