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In Re Z. C., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. Z. S

October 26, 2012

IN RE Z. C., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. SACRAMENTO COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
Z. S., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



(Super. Ct. No. JD229869)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Raye , P. J.

In re Z.C. CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

For two years, the parents of minor Z.C. have been pointing fingers, violating court orders, and making the minor an unfortunate pawn in a tug-of-war custody battle being played out in the juvenile court. Appellant Z.S., mother of the minor, now appeals from the juvenile court's modification order removing the minor from her joint custody and placing her in the father's sole physical custody. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 388, 395; further undesignated statutory references are to this code).) She contends there was insufficient evidence for the juvenile court to find the removal necessary and beneficial for the minor. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

The record and briefs in this case are replete with allegations of inappropriate conduct and violations of court orders as to both parents. We recount, however, only those facts relevant to the issue on appeal.

On June 19, 2009, the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (Department) filed a section 300 petition on behalf of then almost five-year-old minor Z.C. because of ongoing domestic violence and failure to cooperate with voluntary services. The parents had lived together "'off and on'" since 2005, and the domestic violence had been ongoing at least from that time. The minor was detained.

The juvenile court sustained the petition on August 12, 2009, declared the minor a dependent child, and placed the minor with mother under a program of supervision and services. The juvenile court ordered services and visitation for the minor's father, but ordered the parents have no contact with each other.

Not long after the petition was sustained, mother gave birth to the minor's sibling. The newborn resided with mother and the minor. The minor's half sibling resided with the minor's father. Neither sibling is a subject of this appeal.

At an August 30, 2010, review hearing, father's counsel reported that father had not had a visit with the minor since December 2009. The juvenile court ordered the visits be made up and the hearing was continued. Mother continued to make the minor unavailable for visits, and by November 18, 2010, father had still not had a visit since December 2009. The Department and the minor requested joint custody placement, with father as the primary caregiver.

At the December 9, 2010, contested hearing, the Department recommended the minor be placed with father because of mother's history of thwarting attempts to provide father with visitation. Father and the minor concurred. They also argued that placement with mother was now a risk because of mother's "emotional instability." The juvenile court ordered weekend visitation for father and continued the hearing to December 20, 2010.

On December 17, 2010, the Department filed a report changing its recommendation to joint physical custody. Although there were "significant concerns" about mother's ability to share joint custody, the social worker believed such an arrangement was in the minor's best interests. The Department was continuing to monitor the minor's safety in mother's care. The juvenile court ordered joint custody, alternating weeks, with exchanges taking place at school so the parents would not come in contact with each other. Mother was also ordered to submit to a psychological evaluation.*fn1

On March 8, 2011, father filed a section 388 petition for modification, requesting the minor be placed in his sole custody. Father subsequently withdrew the request after receiving ...


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