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VOLUNTARY TERMINATION PARENTAL RIGHTS TO M.L.O. APPEAL K.O. (07/03/80)

decided: July 3, 1980.

IN RE VOLUNTARY TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS TO M.L.O. APPEAL OF K.O.


No. 48 May Term, 1979, Appeal from the Decree of the Court of Common Pleas of York County, Pennsylvania, Orphans' Court Division, at No. 4141 of 1979.

COUNSEL

J. Christian Ness, Barbara Orsburn Stump, York, for appellant.

Mark Woodbury, III, York, for appellee.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ.

Author: Roberts

[ 490 Pa. Page 238]

OPINION OF THE COURT

On January 8, 1979, the Orphans' Court Division of the Court of Common Pleas of York County entered a decree of voluntary termination of the parental rights of appellant K.O. to her daughter, M.L.O. On May 8, 1979 appellant petitioned that court to set aside the decree on the ground that her consent to the termination was not intelligently, voluntarily and deliberately given. Following a hearing, the orphans' court dismissed appellant's petition on June 18,

[ 490 Pa. Page 2391979]

, and this appeal followed. Because we are convinced that the record amply supports the voluntary termination, we affirm the orphans' court decree.

M.L.O. was born out of wedlock on July 23, 1973 to appellant K.O. and D.L. Appellant retained custody of M.L.O. for nine months and then placed her with appellant's grandmother where she remained until November 1978. Around that time appellant had become dissatisfied with M.L.O.'s upbringing, and learned through an acquaintance that appellees would be interested in adopting M.L.O. Appellant met with appellees and their attorney, gave them custody of M.L.O., and agreed to their adoption of M.L.O.

On December 29, 1978, appellant and M.L.O.'s natural father presented a joint petition to the orphans' court seeking to relinquish their parental rights to M.L.O. pursuant to the Adoption Act of July 24, 1970, P.L. 620, § 302, 1 P.S. § 302 (Supp.1980). A full hearing was held on January 8, 1979, at which both natural parents testified. A decree of termination was entered and custody awarded to appellees pursuant to 1 P.S. § 321. An adoption hearing, scheduled for May 21, 1979, was continued pending final resolution of this appeal.

Voluntary relinquishment proceedings were made a part of the Adoption Act in order to finalize a natural parent's decision to relinquish parental rights prior to the adoption hearing. Matter of Adoption of Christopher P., 480 Pa. 79, 389 A.2d 94 (1978); Watson Appeal, 450 Pa. 579, 301 A.2d 861 ...


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