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2010-UP-485 - Doe v. Alonzo L.

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

Jane and John Doe, Respondents,

v.

Alonzo L. P., Appellant.

In the interest of one minor child.


Appeal From Aiken County
Peter R. Nuessle, Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2010-UP-485
Submitted October 1, 2010 – Filed November 4, 2010


AFFIRMED


Michael Wilson Millians, of Augusta, for Appellant.

James Fletcher Thompson, of Spartanburg, for Respondents.

James L. Verenes, of Aiken, Guardian ad Litem.

PER CURIAM: John and Jane Doe (the Does) filed an action for the termination of Alonzo P.'s (Father's) parental rights to his minor child (Baby Boy) and adoption.  Following the hearing, the family court concluded Father's consent to adoption was not required and granted the adoption.  The family court also terminated Father's parental rights pursuant to sections 63-7-2570(3) (willful failure to visit) and (4) (willful failure to support) of the South Carolina Code (2010).  Additionally, the family court found adoption was in Baby Boy's best interests.  We affirm.[1]

1.  We agree Father's consent to adoption was not required.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 63-9-310(A)(5) (2010) (explaining a father's consent for the purpose of adoption is required if a child was born "when the father was not married to the child's mother, if the child was placed with the prospective adoptive parents six months or less after the child's birth, but only if: (a) the father openly lived with the child or the child's mother for a continuous period of six months immediately preceding the placement of the child for adoption, and the father openly held himself out to be the father of the child during the six months period; or (b) the father paid a fair and reasonable sum, based on the father's financial ability, for the support of the child or for expenses incurred in connection with the mother's pregnancy or with the birth of the child, including, but not limited to, medical, hospital, and nursing expenses"); Abernathy v. Baby Boy, 313 S.C. 27, 32, 437 S.E.2d 25, 29 (1993) (explaining when the Legislature enacted section 63-9-310(A)(5)(b), it "contemplated establishing general minimum standards by which an unwed father timely may demonstrate his commitment to the child, and his desire to grasp [the] opportunity to assume full responsibility for his child"); Id. (concluding "an unwed father is entitled to constitutional protection not only when he meets the literal requirements of section [63-9-310](A)(5)(b), but also when he undertakes sufficient prompt and good faith efforts to assume parental responsibility and to comply with the statute"). 

2.  We agree adoption is in Baby Boy's best interests.  See  Patel v. Patel, 347 S.C. 281, 285, 555 S.E.2d 386, 388 (2001) ("In a custody case, the best interest of the child is the controlling factor."); Arscott v. Bacon, 351 S.C. 44, 55, 567 S.E.2d 898, 903 (Ct. App. 2002) (examining whether adoption is in a child's best interest after a finding a biological father's consent to adoption was not necessary).[2] 

Further, we grant counsel's petition to be relieved.

AFFIRMED.

WILLIAMS, J., KONDUROS, J., and CURETON, A.J., concur.


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

[2] We need not address whether the family court erred in terminating Father's parental rights.  See Parag v. Baby Boy Lovin, 333 S.C. 221, 229 n.2, 508 S.E.2d 590, 594 n.2 (Ct. App. 1998) (reversing the family court's finding consent to adoption was necessary and declining to address whether the grounds for termination of parental rights were met).