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Name: In re Suzanna L.
Case #: E031146
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 12/10/2002
Subsequent History: None

Mother was given sole custody of the minor following a dissolution of marriage. Father visited sporadically, and then not at all. Mother petitioned for termination of father’s parental rights under Family Code section 7800 on the grounds of abandonment, in order to allow the minor’s stepfather to adopt her. The petition was granted. On appeal, father contended the trial court violated the ICWA because both he and the mother were part Indian, and proper notice was not given to the tribe. Although some of the tribes had been noticed, the BIA and the Secretary of the Interior had not been given notice. Nor was the court provided with copies of the notices or any of the return receipts. The trial court erred by terminating father’s parental rights since there had not been substantial compliance with the notice requirements of the ICWA. Reversal and remand was required.