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In re Adoption of A.S.

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District, Fulton

May 12, 2017

In re Adoption of A.S.

         Trial Court No. 20164013

          Ian A. Weber, for appellant.

          Gary L. Smith, for appellees.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT

          SINGER, J.

         {¶ 1} Appellant, C.P., appeals the September 28, 2016 judgment of the Fulton County Court of Common Pleas, Probate Division, in which the court found his consent was not required for the adoption of A.S., his daughter. Finding no error, we affirm.

         Assignments of Error

         {¶ 2} Appellant sets forth the following assignments of error:

1. The trial court abused its discretion by ruling that [C.P.], who is presumed to be the biological father by acknowledgement of paternity has failed without justifiable cause to provide more than de minimis contact with the minor child, [A.S.] pursuant to R.C. 3107.07, for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the filing of the Adoption when the biological mother intentionally lied to the presumed father that he was not the father as the result of an at home DNA test and whether this was a justifiable reason for the presumed father to stop consistent contact with the minor child.
2. The trial court abused its discretion by denying the presumed father-appellant's motion for D.N.A. testing to determine if he is or is not the biological father of the minor child.
3. The trial court abused its discretion in determining that although the biological mother's conduct was reprehensible in lying to [C.P.] about the DNA test results it was justified under R.C. 3107.07(A) when in fact the biological mother unduly influenced and defrauded [C.P.] by repeatedly stating he was not the father through an at home DNA test and any lack of contact was a direct result of her conduct or statements regarding the test.

         Facts

         {¶ 3} On July 21, 2016, appellees, T.S. and R.S., petitioned the trial court for the adoption of their granddaughter, A.S.

         {¶ 4} A.S. was born October 2014. Appellees are the maternal grandparents of A.S., and their daughter, R.S., is the biological mother of A.S ("mother").

         {¶ 5} On July 21, 2016, the mother voluntarily consented to and waived notice to the adoption and hearing of A.S. A hearing was set for September 19, 2016. Notice of this hearing was sent to appellant at the Lebanon Correctional Institute, where he was incarcerated as of September 2015.

         {¶ 6} The notice to appellant stated that appellees were alleging that his consent was not required due to his unjustifiable failure to provide more than de minimis contact from July 21, 2015, to July 21, 2016, which was for one year preceding the petition for adoption. The notice further informed appellant he would lose his parental rights, "including the right to contact the minor" and the "legal relationship" between him and the minor, "so that the minor thereafter is a stranger to [him] and the minor's former relatives for all purposes." Appellant was given 14 days beyond service to file objection.

         {¶ 7} The record reflects that service was perfected, at the Lebanon Correctional Institute, on July 28, 2016. However, there is no evidence ...


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