Understanding De Facto Parents in California and Their Legal Rights
When it comes to child custody and dependency cases in California, the term “De Facto Parent” is frequently mentioned.
De facto parent refers to someone who has assumed a significant responsibility for a child’s care, nurturing, and development.
This term is often used in cases where a biological or adoptive parent cannot care for their child, and someone else steps in to provide for the child’s needs.
This article will discuss what a de facto parent is in California, their legal rights, and how Rule 5.502(10) of the California Rules of Court plays a role.
What is a De Facto Parent?
A de facto parent is a person who has established a parental relationship with a child, even though they may not be the child’s biological or adoptive parent.
According to California Family Code § 7611(d), a de facto parent is a person who has been found by the court to have assumed “day-to-day care and control of the child” for a substantial period of time [See also, In re B.G. (1974) 11 Cal.3d 679].
This includes individuals who have been providing for the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs.
What are the Rights of a De Facto Parent in California?
In California, de facto parents have certain legal rights when it comes to child custody and visitation.
Under Rule 5.502(10) of the California Rules of Court, de facto parents have the right to participate in child welfare and court proceedings involving the child, including the right to notice and the right to be heard.
This means that de facto parents can attend court hearings and voice their opinions on matters related to the child’s welfare, such as custody, visitation, and placement.
Additionally, de facto parents have the right to seek legal custody of the child.
Under California law, a de facto parent may be granted legal custody if it is in the child’s best interests and the biological or adoptive parents are unable or unwilling to care for the child.
This can include situations where the biological or adoptive parent has abandoned the child, is incarcerated, or is otherwise unable to provide for the child’s needs.
What Are De Facto Parents Role in CPS Cases? – WIC 366.26
WIC 366.26(n) is a California law provision that specifically addresses de facto parents’ role in child dependency cases.
This section provides that when the court considers the permanent plan for a dependent child, it must consider the de facto parent’s relationship with the child and the impact that the permanent plan will have on that relationship.
In other words, this provision recognizes the vital role that de facto parents play in a child’s life and ensures that their interests are considered when determining the child’s permanent placement.
By including this provision, California law acknowledges the vital role that de facto parents play in the lives of dependent children and works to ensure that their rights are protected.
It’s important to note that De Facto parents have procedural rights, but not substantive rights.
WHAT SHOULD YOU IF YOU ARE A DE FACTO PARENT AND NEED A CPS LAWYER FOR A CPS CASE IN CALIFORNIA?
If you are a De Facto parent, it is crucial to get a CPS lawyer as soon as possible.
You deserve to have a CPS lawyer who will help you fight to protect your rights. If you are dealing with a juvenile dependency case, child-welfare services case, or CPS case in Orange County, California, or Southern California, you need thejuvenile dependency attorneys at ALL Trial Lawyers by your side.
Don’t risk calling the wrong lawyer. If CPS is investigating you, you do not have to deal with them alone.