California Landmark Cases on Permanency Planning Hearings

At a permanency planning hearing, once the juvenile court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child is likely to be adopted within a reasonable time, the court is required to terminate parental rights and select adoption as the permanent plan, unless the parent shows that termination of parental rights would be detrimental to the child under one of several statutory exceptions. (In re Michael G. (2012) 203 Cal.App.4th 580, 589.) One of these statutory exceptions is the beneficial relationship exception to adoption, which applies when it would be detrimental to the child to terminate parental rights in that "the parents have maintained regular visitation and contact with the child and the child would benefit from continuing the relationship." ( 366.26, subd. (c)(1)(B)(i).) The burden is on the party seeking to establish the beneficial relationship exception to produce evidence establishing the exception is applicable. (In re Bailey J. (2010) 189 Cal.App.4th 1308, 1314 (Bailey J.).) Once the juvenile court finds that a parent has met his or her burden to establish the requirements of the beneficial relationship exception are present, the juvenile court may chose a permanent plan other than adoption if it finds the beneficial relationship to be "a compelling reason for determining that termination would be detrimental to the child." ( 366.26, subd. (c)(1)(B); see Bailey J., at p. 1314.)