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Lavigne v. Family and Children''s Society of Elizabeth

Decided: May 9, 1952.

JOE B. LAVIGNE AND LOUISE P. LAVIGNE, HIS WIFE, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS,
v.
THE FAMILY AND CHILDREN'S SOCIETY OF ELIZABETH, A NEW JERSEY CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Eastwood, Bigelow and Francis. The opinion of the court was delivered by Francis, J.c.c.

Francis

The natural parents involved in this proceeding surrendered their child to the appellant society for purposes of adoption. Thereafter the society placed it in the custody of prospective adoptive parents. Before adoption proceedings were instituted and during the probationary period of this custody, a change came about in the unfortunate conditions which induced the natural parents to make the surrender. They then repented their decision and sought the return of the child. Following a hearing, Chancery Division directed its return.

On appeal the trial court's determination was affirmed and this Court declared [18 N.J. Super. 559 (App. Div. 1952)]:

"* * * it clearly appearing that the plaintiffs are fit and proper persons to have their child, that their present economic situation is sufficiently established to provide a suitable home for her and to the end that she may be reared in the atmosphere and the guidance of her natural parents, her best interests demand that she be returned to their custody."

In the course of the opinion reference was made to the fact that the prospective adopting parents are not parties to the action, that the record disclosed no proof as to who they are, their financial position, the kind of home they maintain, and what attachments, if any, have been formed. Thereafter, and before the execution of the mandate, the society filed a petition for rehearing, requesting that:

"a. It be afforded the opportunity to present evidence either by direct testimony in this Court or in the court below or by an independent investigation by an agency appointed by this Court to submit a report to this Court regarding:

(1) The status of the adopting parents and their home,

(2) The financial position of the adopting parents,

(3) The child's status in their home and her attachment to it,

(4) The condition and health of the child when she came to the adopting parents' home, and

(5) The progress said child has made while in that home and the effect of her removal at this time.

b. Any further evidence which this Honorable Court considers pertinent regarding the best interests ...


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