A man is an alleged father if he appears at a dependency hearing and claims to be the child’s father or if the child’s mother names him as the father.
Different people who can be alleged fathers include:
The child’s biological father
The child’s stepfather
A man who believes he is the child’s father but has not been confirmed through paternity testing
A man who had sex with the child’s mother around the time of conception but cannot be sure if he is the father.
What are the Rights of the Alleged Father?
An alleged father has no legal rights to the child and no financial obligation to support the child. However, an alleged father can request paternity testing to see if he is the child’s biological father.
If paternity testing proves that the man is the child’s biological father, then he will be given the legal rights and responsibilities of a biological father.
2. Biological Father
A man is a biological father if a blood test proves his paternity, but he has not achieved presumed father status. (In re Zacharia D. (1993) 6 Cal.4th 435, 499, fn. 15.)
This category includes fathers who have been determined to be fathers in prior family law or child support cases. Establishing that a man is the biological father can be done by looking at the results of blood tests. (In re E.O. (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 722, 727–728 [paternity judgment establishes biological paternity only, not presumed father status].)
Additionally, if a man appears at a dependency hearing and requests a finding of paternity by filling out the Statement of Parentage form (JV-505 form), the court must determine whether he is the biological father by ordering a paternity test. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 5.635(e); see In re Baby Boy V. (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1108; but see In re Elijah V. (2005) 127 Cal.App.4th 576 [court may not order a blood test under Fam. Code, § 7541 to defeat a conclusive marital presumption of paternity].)
In addition, the court has the discretion to order blood tests if in the child’s best interest to do. Some instances where the court may order a blood test include:
1) To create a basis for placement by identifying paternal relatives; OR
2) If resolve disputes if multiple fathers claim biological paternity.
However, remember that being a biological father is not necessary or even enough under the law to be a presumed father.
What are the Rights of the Biological Father?
A biological father has no legal rights to the child and no obligation to support the child financially unless he establishes himself as a presumed father.
3. Kelsey S. Father
A man can be a Kelsey S. father if he is the biological father and tries his best to take care of his children, but he has been unable to establish presumed father status through no fault of his own.
What exactly does “no fault of his own” mean?
Well, in the famous case Adoption of Kelsey S. (1992) 1 Cal.4th 816, the California court found that it was not the father’s fault that he could not establish presumed father status because the child’s mother would not let the father have contact with the child.
In another famous case, In re Andrew L. (2004) 122 Cal.App.4th 178, the Court found that it was not the father’s fault that he could not establish presumed father status because the county social worker purposely foiled the father’s repeated efforts to establish paternity (crazy, right? – but it happens).
What are the Rights of a Kelsey S. Father?
A Kelsey S. father has the right to request custody or visitation and can also oppose an adoption.
However, a Kelsey S. Father does not have the right to receive notice of proceedings or participate in proceedings unless he establishes paternity.
4. Presumed Father (Fam. Code, §§ 7540, 7570, 7611(d))
A man qualifies as a presumed father under any of the following circumstances:
He was married to the child’s mother at the time of the child’s birth. (Fam. Code, § 7540);
The child was born within 300 days of the man and mother separating. (Fam. Code, § 7540);
He married the child’s mother after the child’s birth, and he is named on the child’s birth certificate. (id., § 7611(c));
He married the child’s mother after the child’s birth and has a voluntary or court-ordered child support obligation. (id., § 7611(c));
He has lived with the child, acted as if he is the child’s father, and has openly claimed the child as his own in public. (id., § 7611(d)); or
He and the mother have signed a voluntary declaration of parentage under Family Code section 7570 et seq.
Each of these presumptions can be rebutted in dependency court under certain circumstances. If it is possible the rebut the presumption, the mother’s legal team in the juvenile dependency case will fight hard to do so where presumed parents have many rights and stakes in a juvenile decency proceeding.
What Are the Rights of Presumed Fathers?
Presumed fathers are afforded full standing in dependency actions as well as all constitutional and statutory rights and protections provided to “parents” under the Welfare and Institutions Code. (See §§ 311, 317, 319, 335, 337, 361.2, 366.21, 366.22, 366.26, 366.3; In re Jesusa V. (2004) 32 Cal.4th 588, 610.)
A presumed father has numerous rights in a juvenile dependency proceeding. For example, he has the right to notice of all proceedings, the right to be represented by counsel, the right to attend all hearings, and the right to present evidence. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §361.21(a)).
A presumed father also has the right to file a petition for custody or visitation and the right to request that the child be placed with him. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §361.21(h)).
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