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2012-UP-225 - Leroy B. v. Fatiema B.

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

Leroy B., Respondent,

v.

Fatiema B. and Andre N., Defendants,

In the Interest of a Minor Child.

Of whom Fatiema B. is the Respondent,

and Andre N. is the Appellant.


Appeal From Sumter County
Angela R. Taylor, Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2012-UP-225
Submitted March 1, 2012 – Filed April 18, 2012   


AFFIRMED


John S. Keffer, of Sumter, for Appellant.

T. H. Davis III, of Sumter, and William T. Toal, of Columbia, for Respondents.

Shannon M. Chandler, of Columbia, Guardian ad Litem.

PER CURIAM: Leroy B. and Fatiema B. (Mother) had been married for five years when the minor child (Child) was born.  Leroy B. and Mother separated when the child was four years old.  After separating, Mother informed Leroy B. that he was not the biological father of Child.  Leroy B. filed an action to adopt Child, naming as defendants Mother and Andre N., whom all agree is the biological father of Child.  The family court granted the adoption without the consent of Andre N.  Andre N. appeals, arguing the family court erred in: (1) finding his consent was not required for the adoption; (2) applying section 63-9-310 to this case even though this section is applicable only to third-party placement cases; (3) finding the adoption was in Child's best interest; and (4) finding it had jurisdiction to hear the adoption action.  We affirm[1] pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities:

1.  As to whether the family court erred in finding Andre N.'s consent was not required for the adoption: S.C. Code Ann. § 63-9-310(A)(4) (2010) (providing consent is required from a father of a child born to father and the child's mother out of wedlock "if the child was placed with the prospective adoptive parents more than six months after the child's birth" and "the father has maintained substantial and continuous or repeated contact with the child as demonstrated by: (a) payment by the father toward the support of the child of a fair and reasonable sum, based on the father's financial ability; and either (b) visits by the father to the child at least monthly when the father is physically and financially able to do so, and when the father is not prevented from doing so by the person or agency having lawful custody of the child; or (c) regular communication by the father with the child or with the person or agency having lawful custody of the child, when the father is physically and financially unable to visit the child, or when the father is prevented from visiting the child by the person or agency having lawful custody of the child"); S.C. Code Ann. § 63-9-310(A)(5) (2010) (providing consent is required from a father of a child born to father and the child's mother out of wedlock "if the child was placed with the prospective adoptive parents six months or less after the child's birth" and "(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, 31, 437 S.E.2d 25, 28 (1993) ("The United States Supreme Court has recognized that an unwed father may possess a relationship with his child that is entitled to constitutional protection.  However, parental rights do not spring full-blown from the biological connection between parent and child.  They require relationships more enduring. Thus, an unwed father must demonstrate a full commitment to the responsibilities of parenthood by coming forward to participate in the rearing of his child before his interest in personal contact with his child acquires substantial constitutional protection." (citations and quotation marks omitted)); Roe v. Reeves, 392 S.C. 143, 150, 708 S.E.2d 778, 782 (2011) ("[I]t is only [i]f [the father] grasps that opportunity and accepts some measure of responsibility for the child's future [that he may] enjoy the blessings of the parent-child relationship and make uniquely valuable contributions to the child's development." (citation and quotation marks omitted)).

2. As to whether the family court erred in applying section 63-9-310 even though this section applies only to third-party placement cases: Bodkin v. Bodkin, 388 S.C. 203, 219, 694 S.E.2d 230, 239 (Ct. App. 2010) ("When the family court does not rule on an issue presented to it, the issue must be raised by a post-trial motion to be preserved for appeal.").

3. As to whether the adoption was in Child's best interest: Futch v. McAllister Towing of Georgetown, Inc., 335 S.C. 598, 613, 518 S.E.2d 591, 598 (1999) (noting an appellate court need not address appellant's remaining issues when its determination of a prior issue is dispositive).

4. As to whether the family court had jurisdiction to hear the adoption case: Pittman v. Pittman, 395 S.C. 209, 219, 717 S.E.2d 88, 93 (Ct. App. 2011) (finding the husband abandoned an issue on appeal because the husband did not offer any supporting authority for his argument). 

AFFIRMED.

FEW, C.J., HUFF and SHORT, JJ., concur.  


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