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Name: Louis J. v. Superior Court
Case #: D040457
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/13/2002
Subsequent History: None

Louis J. was the father of two dependent sons, and an officer in the Navy. At the 18-month review hearing, the trial court denied his motion for a stay of the proceedings under the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act (the Act). In this petition, he contended that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the motion because his ability to conduct his defense was materially affected by his military service, and that the stay was in the minors’ best interest. The appellate court denied the petition. A determination on a stay request under the Act depends on the circumstances of each case. Here, earlier in the proceedings, Louis indicated he did not want custody, and the children were subsequently placed in foster care. He only expressed interest a year later, but still made no attempt to transfer to San Diego, where the children resided. Louis did not explain how he was prevented from asserting a defense by being absent from the hearing. The boys also had a right to permanency and further delay was not in their best interests.