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2009-UP-300 - S.K and I.K. v. Jonelle F.

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

S.K. and I.K., Husband and Wife, Respondents,

v.

Baby Boy F., a minor under the age of fourteen years; Jonelle F., birth mother and Darren S., birth father, Defendants,

Of Whom Jonelle F. is the Appellant.


Appeal From Dorchester County
 Anne Gue Jones, Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2009-UP-300
Submitted June 1, 2009 – Filed June 8, 2009
Revised June 10, 2009


AFFIRMED


Louis S. Moore, of Reidsville, for Appellant.

Susan K. Dunn, of Charleston, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM: Jonelle F. (Mother) appeals the family court's order denying her motion to withdraw voluntary consent relinquishing her parental rights to minor child (Child).  On appeal, Mother contends the family court erred in (1) finding the consent was valid; (2) excusing the guardian ad litem (GAL); and (3) failing to consider Child's best interest.  Mother further contends South Carolina adoption statutes violate equal protection and public policy.  We affirm[1] pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities:

1.  As to whether Mother's consent was valid:  S.C. Code Ann § 63-9-350 (2008) (explaining for consent to be withdrawn the court must find that withdrawal is in the child's best interest and that consent or relinquishment was not given voluntarily or was obtained under duress or through coercion); McCann v. Doe, 377 S.C. 373, 383-84, 660 S.E.2d 500, 506 (2008) (stating the burden is on the person seeking to revoke the consent to show the consent was obtained involuntarily); McCann, 377 S.C. at 386, 660 S.E.2d at 507-08 (explaining duress is viewed with a subjective test, looking at the individual characteristics of the person allegedly influenced, and duress does not occur if the person has a reasonable alternative to succumbing and fails to avail themselves of the alternative); Phillips v. Baker, 284 S.C. 134, 137, 325 S.E.2d 533, 535 (1985) (defining duress as "a condition of mind produced by improper external pressure or influence that practically destroys the free agency of a party and causes him to do an act or form a contract not of his own volition").

2.  As to whether the family court erred in excusing Child's GAL from the hearing on the voluntariness of Mother's consent and in failing to address Child's best interest: Kirkland v. Allcraft Steel Co., Inc., 329 S.C. 389, 392-93, 496 S.E.2d 624, 626 (1998) (holding a stipulation made by the parties in a judicial proceeding is binding); State v. Johnson, 298 S.C. 496, 498, 381 S.E.2d 732, 733 (1989) (stating express consent to a ruling waives the right to raise the issue on appeal).

3.  As to whether South Carolina adoption statutes deprived Mother of equal protection and violate public policy: Staubes v. City of Folly Beach, 339 S.C. 406, 412, 529 S.E.2d 543, 546 (2000) ("It is well-settled that an issue cannot be raised for the first time on appeal, but must have been raised to and ruled upon by the trial court to be preserved for appellate review."); Charleston County Dep't of Soc. Servs. v. Jackson, 368 S.C. 87, 105, 627 S.E.2d 765, 775 (Ct. App. 2006) (explaining a father's argument that termination of his parental rights violates his right to due process is not preserved for this court's review because the issue was not raised to or ruled upon by the family court).

AFFIRMED. 

HEARN, C.J., CURETON, A.J., and GOOLSBY, A.J., concur.


[1] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.