THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE. IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS
PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 239(d)(2), SCACR.
THE STATE OF
In The Court of Appeals
John and Mary Doe, Respondents.
Dorothy Mobley Jones, Family Court Judge
Unpublished Opinion No. 2007-UP-117
Submitted March 1, 2007 – Filed March 8, 2007
John D. Elliott, of
Columbia, for Appellant.
James Fletcher Thompson, of
Spartanburg, for Respondent.
Richard Giles Whiting, of
Columbia, for Guardian Ad Litem.
PER CURIAM: Father appeals the family court’s order upholding the Does’ adoption of Child, finding Father’s consent to the adoption was not required, and terminating Father’s parental rights. We affirm.
Father and Mother met in the fall of 2001 at a cub scout meeting for their sons. Thereafter, Mother and Father had a brief romantic relationship wherein they had sexual intercourse on a few different occasions.
In late November 2001, Mother told Father that she was pregnant. A pregnancy test confirmed Mother’s assertion. Thereafter, Mother informed Father that she wanted to have an abortion. Father, at least in part motivated by his personal beliefs, argued against Mother having an abortion. Nevertheless, Mother insisted on having the abortion and asked Father to assist her financially during this period. Father gave Mother around $250.00.
In the ensuing weeks, Mother and Father’s relationship, which was already strained, completely subsided. Mother embarked on a “drug binge” in the latter part of December and subsequently entered a rehab program in the
Mother decided to put Child up for adoption and contacted Bethany Christian Services, an adoption agency in
[Child] of course has a birthfather, unfortunately his identity is unknown to me. During the time (mid-Nov. ’01) that she was conceived I was drinking and using drugs. I had not had sex in several months before the few days in Nov. that I had sex with at least 3 men over a weekend’s time.
In July 2002, she provided
Child was born on August 11, 2002. Mother then signed a Relinquishment for Adoption, which gave custody of Child to
In November 2003, Father began to wonder whether Mother ever had an abortion. Father asked Mother’s mother about the abortion, and learned Mother actually gave Child up for adoption. Mother’s mother provided Father with pictures of Child that Father believed looked like him.
Father then investigated the adoption of Child and discovered the Does were her adoptive parents. In late November 2003, Father met with and informed John Doe that Child was Father’s biological child. During this initial meeting, Father offered to have a co-parenting relationship of some sort; John Doe refused Father’s suggestion. In January 2004, Father’s attorney sent the Does a letter again inquiring whether they were willing to have a co-parenting situation and explaining that Father was willing to contribute financially.
In February 2004, after Father received no response from the Does, he initiated an action to set aside the adoption of Child and grant him sole entitlement to Child’s legal and physical custody. After a hearing, the family court upheld the adoption, found Father was not required to provide consent, terminated Father’s parental rights, and held removal of Child from the Does would be against Child’s best interest. This appeal followed.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
“When reviewing the factual determinations of the family court, an appellate court may take its own view of the preponderance of the evidence.” Woodall v. Woodall, 322 S.C. 7, 10, 471 S.E.2d 154, 157 (1996). Where the evidence is disputed, the appellate court may adhere to the findings of the family court, who was in a superior position to judge the witnesses’ demeanor and veracity.
Father contends the family court erred in failing to set aside the adoption of Child based on Mother’s alleged extrinsic fraud. Specifically, Father argues Mother’s failure to name Father as a potential father in her affidavit to
Section 20-7-1800(B) of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2006) provides that the family court may set aside a decree of adoption on the ground of “extrinsic fraud,” which is defined as “fraud that induces a person not to present a case or deprives a person of the opportunity to be heard.”
In Brown v. Malloy, this court analyzed whether a decree of adoption could be set aside where a birthfather alleged birthmother fraudulently precluded his participation in the adoption proceedings. 345 S.C. 113, 546 S.E.2d 195 (Ct. App. 2001). In Brown, the birthmother provided the incorrect county of the child’s conception and the birthfather’s residence which led to publication of the notice of adoption proceedings in a county in which birthfather did not reside.
In this case, the record indicates Mother has always believed that Father was not Child’s biological father. Consistent with her affidavit to
We recognize there is evidence in the record that indicates Mother lied to Father about getting an abortion and Father believed the lie until he learned otherwise in November 2003. We also acknowledge there is testimony from one of Father’s friends about a long conversation they had in which Father expressed his deep regrets about the supposed abortion of Child. The friend also testified Father appeared genuinely excited and surprised after learning Child was not aborted.
Nevertheless, after a thorough review of the record, we find Father failed to provide clear and convincing proof that Mother committed extrinsic fraud by neglecting to identify him as a possible father. In this case, the family court, who saw and heard the witnesses, found Mother credible and Father not credible. In this instance, we defer to the family court’s findings because the evidence in the record supports the court’s holding. Having found that Father failed to prove Mother committed extrinsic fraud, we need not address Father’s remaining issues. See Whiteside v.
GOOLSBY and STILWELL, JJ., and CURETON, A.J., concur.
 We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.
 This case is sealed. As such, all names are omitted in order to protect the parties’ identities.
 In April 2004, DNA test results confirmed that there was a 99.97% probability Father was Child’s birthfather.