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Name: T.P. v. T.W.
Case #: A128117
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 01/21/2011

A mother is an “interested person” for purposes of Family Code section 7841 and therefore has standing to petition to terminate a biological father’s rights. Mother filed a petition under Family Code section 7802 to free her child from the custody of the biological father. The trial court held that mother had no standing to commence such a proceeding, and denied her petition. On appeal, mother contended that the trial court erred because section 7841 provides that an “interested person” may file such a petition, and she was such a person because she had a direct interest in the action. Father argued that an interested person is limited to a party who seeks to free a minor from parental custody for purposes of adoption. The appellate court agreed with mother and reversed. The plain language of the statute leads to the conclusion that mother was an interested party and had standing to bring the action. Further, case law has held that adoption is not a sine qua non to a petition under section 7841.