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Appeals court rules in favor of octuplet mother Nadya Suleman

January 8, 2010 |  9:49 pm
A state appeals court has ruled in favor of octuplet mother Nadya Suleman, saying a child actor's call for the appointment of an independent guardian to monitor the octuplet's finances was an "unprecedented, meritless effort by a stranger."

In an opinion filed today, 4th District Court of Appeal justices directed an Orange County probate court to vacate its order for an investigation into the family's finances.

Paul Petersen, a child actor who is now an advocate for children in the entertainment industry, had taken Suleman to court, arguing that her children were vulnerable to exploitation and that an independent guardian should be appointed to look after their financial interests. Petersen, president of the group Minor Consideration, alleged that a video shot of Suleman's children violated a law aimed at protecting child entertainers from overwork.

In its filing today, the appeals court said the probate judge had erred because Petersen failed to show that Suleman was engaging in financial misconduct.

"The petition'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 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."

Neither Suleman's lawyer nor Petersen's lawyer could be reached for comment.

-- Monte Morin