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In re J.M.P.

Supreme Court of Louisiana
528 So.2d 1002 (La. 1998)


Dawn B. was 18 years old and unmarried when she gave birth to a child. Dawn worked a minimum-wage job and lived with her mother and stepfather. Dawn put the child up for adoption, because Dawn’s mother and stepfather told Dawn that they would not help her raise the child. Dawn signed an act of surrender, terminating her rights to the child. James and Laura P. (plaintiffs) adopted the child. The plaintiffs owned a large house and had substantial savings. Within 30 days of signing the act of surrender, Dawn revoked her consent to the adoption. The trial court determined that, despite the influence of Dawn’s mother and stepfather, Dawn’s execution of the act of surrender was not signed under duress and was therefore valid. The trial court then held a hearing on the best interests of the child and determined that, because of the plaintiffs’ traditional family structure and secure finances, the best interests of the child mandated that the plaintiffs be granted custody of the child. The court of appeal affirmed. Dawn appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Dennis, J.)

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