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California Adoption Laws, pg 5

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Putative Fathers

Does State have a Putative Father Registry:

No

Legal definition of "father"
Family Code §§ 7601; 76111

''Parent and child relationship'' means the legal relationship existing between a child and the child's natural or adoptive parents incident to which the law confers or imposes rights, privileges, duties, and obligations. The term includes the mother and child relationship and the father and child relationship.

A man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if he meets the conditions provided in Chapter 1 (commencing with § 7540) or Chapter 3 (commencing with § 7570) of Part 2 or any of the following:

  • He and the child's natural mother are or have been married to each other and the child is born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage is terminated by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, divorce, or after a judgment of separation is entered by a court.
  • Before the child's birth, he and the child's natural mother have attempted to marry each other, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and either of the following is true:
    • If the attempted marriage could be declared invalid only by a court, the child is born during the attempted marriage or within 300 days after its termination by death, annulment, declaration of invalidity, or divorce.
    • If the attempted marriage is invalid without a court order, the child is born within 300 days after the termination of cohabitation.
  • After the child's birth, he and the child's natural mother have married, or attempted to marry, each other, although the attempted marriage is or could be declared invalid, and either of the following is true:
    • With his consent, he is named as the child's father on the child's birth certificate.
    • He is obligated to support the child under a written voluntary promise or by court order.
  • He receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child.


Putative father registry
Family Code §§ 7571; 7573

On and after January 1, 1995, upon the event of a live birth, prior to an unmarried mother leaving any hospital, the person responsible for registering live births shall provide to the natural mother and shall attempt to provide, at the place of birth, to the man identified by the natural mother as the natural father, a voluntary declaration of paternity together with the written materials described in § 7572. Staff in the hospital shall witness the signatures of parents signing a voluntary declaration of paternity and shall forward the signed declaration to the Department of Child Support Services within 20 days of the date the declaration was signed. A copy of the declaration shall be made available to each of the attesting parents.

Except as provided in §§ 7575, 7576, and 7577, a completed voluntary declaration of paternity that has been filed with the Department of Child Support Services shall establish the paternity of a child and shall have the same force and effect as a judgment for paternity issued by a court of competent jurisdiction. The voluntary declaration of paternity shall be recognized as a basis for the establishment of an order for child custody, visitation, or child support.

Alternate means to establish paternity
Family Code §§ 7551; 7555; 7631; 7635.5

In a civil action or proceeding in which paternity is a relevant fact, the court may order the mother, child, and alleged father to submit to genetic tests. A party's refusal to submit to the tests is admissible in evidence in any proceeding to determine paternity.

There is a rebuttable presumption of paternity if the court finds that the paternity index, as calculated by the experts qualified as examiners of genetic markers, is 100 or greater. This presumption may be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence.

A man who is not a presumed father may bring an action for the purpose of declaring that he is the natural father of a child if the mother consents to or proposes to relinquish for or consent to the adoption of the child. An action under this section shall be brought within 30 days after the man is served with a notice that he is or could be the father of the child or the birth of the child, whichever is later. The commencement of the action suspends a pending proceeding in connection with the adoption of the child until a judgment in the action is final.

In any action brought pursuant to this article, if the alleged father is present in court for the action, the court shall inform the alleged father that he has the right to have genetic testing performed to determine if he is the biological father of the child. The court shall further inform the alleged father of his right to move to set aside or vacate a judgment of paternity within 2 years of the date he received notice of the action to establish paternity and that after that time has expired he may not move to set aside or vacate the judgment of paternity, regardless of whether genetic testing shows him not to be the biological father of the child.

Required Information
Family Code § 7574

The voluntary declaration of paternity shall be executed on a form developed by the Department of Child Support Services in consultation with the State Department of Health Services, the California Family Support Council, and child support advocacy groups. The form described in subdivision (a) shall contain, at a minimum, the following:

  • The name and the signature of the mother
  • The name and the signature of the father
  • The name of the child
  • The date of birth of the child
  • A statement by the mother that she has read and understands the written materials described in § 7572, that the man who has signed the voluntary declaration of paternity is the only possible father, and that she consents to the establishment of paternity by signing the voluntary declaration of paternity
  • A statement by the father that he has read and understands the written materials described in § 7572, that he understands that by signing the voluntary declaration of paternity he is waiving his rights as described in the written materials, that he is the biological father of the child, and that he consents to the establishment of paternity by signing the voluntary declaration of paternity
  • The name and the signature of the person who witnesses the signing of the declaration by the mother and the father


Revocation of claim to paternity
Family Code § 7575

Either parent may rescind the voluntary declaration of paternity by filing a rescission form with the Department of Child Support Services within 60 days of the date of execution of the declaration by the attesting father or attesting mother, whichever signature is later, unless a court order for custody, visitation, or child support has been entered in an action in which the signatory seeking to rescind was a party.

If the court finds that the results of genetic tests show that the man who signed the voluntary declaration is not the father of the child, the court may set aside the voluntary declaration of paternity unless the court determines that denial of the action to set aside the voluntary declaration of paternity is in the best interest of the child.

If the voluntary declaration of paternity is set aside, the court shall order that the mother, child, and alleged father submit to genetic tests. If the court finds that the conclusions of the genetic tests are that the person who executed the voluntary declaration of paternity is not the father of the child, the question of paternity shall be resolved accordingly. If the person who executed the declaration of paternity is ultimately determined to be the father of the child, any child support that accrued under an order based upon the voluntary declaration of paternity shall remain due and owing.

Access to information

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Credits: Child Welfare Information Gateway (http://www.childwelfare.gov)

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