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Name: In re Vincent M.
Case #: B198078
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 04/04/2008

A biological father who does not appear until after the reunification period ends must show that reunification would be in the minor’s best interest. Vincent was surrendered by his mother at birth, and the case went directly to permanency planning. The minor was placed with the B. family for adoption. Mother refused to identify father. Eight months later, the minor’s biological father appeared and filed a 388 petition asking for presumed father status and reunification services. The juvenile court granted his request, and the B.’s appealed. The appellate court reversed, finding that the trial court erred when it found the biological father to be a presumed father. Further, when a biological parent is seeking reunification and does not come forward until after the reunification period has ended, he must establish that reunification services would be in the child’s best interest, whether his paternity has been concealed from him or not. A late appearing father whose paternity was hidden from him is not a presumed father entitled to reunification services without regard to the child’s best interest.