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Adoption of Kelsey S.

Supreme Court of California
823 P.2d 1216 (1992)


Facts

Kari S. gave birth to a boy, Kelsey S., on May 18, 1988. She sought to put the boy up for adoption. Kelsey’s father, Rickie M., was not married to Kari. He wanted to raise Kelsey and therefore objected to the adoption. On May 20, Rickie filed a petition to establish his paternity and for custody of Kelsey. Four days later, Steven and Suzanne A., the prospective adoptive parents, filed a petition to adopt Kelsey. The court consolidated the petitions of Rickie, Steven, and Suzanne. It awarded temporary custody of Kelsey to his mother, Kari, and ordered that she live in a shelter for unwed mothers. Rickie was granted supervised visitation with the child; Steven and Suzanne were granted unsupervised visitation. Apart from the court-ordered visitation, Kari did not allow Rickie to have contact with Kelsey. After considering the matter, the court held that Rickie was not the “presumed father” of Kelsey, notwithstanding his clear paternity. Because he was not the “presumed father,” Rickie lacked a statutory right to withhold consent to Kelsey’s adoption. Rickie appealed unsuccessfully to the Court of Appeal. He appealed again.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Baxter, J.)

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