Friday, January 8, 2010 at 6 p.m.
This afternoon a California Court of Appeal slammed a former child actor who attempted to remove parental rights from Nadya Suleman, the single Orange County woman known around the world as "Octomom."
In May 2009, Paul Petersen--a former child actor as a Mouseketeer on the Mickey Mouse Club--asked an OC court to appoint a financial guardian for Suleman's octuplets. Suleman asked Superior Court Judge Gerald J. Johnston to dismiss the petition and lost.
But the appellate court overturned Johnston's August 2009 ruling, granted Suleman's request and called Petersen's court move "an unprecedented, meritless effort by a stranger."
"[Petersen's] allegations are insufficient to infringe on a parent's civil rights or to rebut the presumption under California law that a parent is competent to manage the finances of his or her children," the Santa Ana-based justices wrote. "There is nothing in the petition that shows that the best interests of the children in the management of their finances are not being served by Suleman."
The justices were not impressed that Petersen's evidence of potential neglect relied largely on blog items from the Internet.
Suleman had argued that if non-connected third parties seeking publicity were to be allowed to file petitions to remove parental rights they would target "celebrities and public figures" and gain confidential personal information about the families.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly