Wednesday, December 18, 2013

In re Nicholas H. case brief

In re Nicholas H. case brief summary
46 P.3d 932 (Cal. 2002)

The Court of Appeals, First District, Second Division (California), concluded that appellant parent qualified as the child's presumed father under Cal. Fam. Code § 7611(d), but that, under Cal. Fam. Code § 7612(a), his admission that he was not the child's biological father necessarily rebutted that presumption and he was not entitled to custody of the child. The parent appealed.

When the mother was pregnant with the child, she moved in with the parent. The parent was not the child's biological father, but both the mother and the parent wanted the parent to act as a father to the child, so the parent participated in the child's birth, was listed on the child's birth certificate as his father, and provided a home for the mother and child for several years.

The juvenile court found that the presumption under Cal. Fam. Code § 7611(d) that the parent was the child's natural father had not been rebutted. The juvenile court expressly rejected the contention that the parent's admission that he was not the child's biological father necessarily rebutted the presumption. Cal. Fam. Code § 7612(a)'s rebuttable presumption as to paternity could be rebutted in an appropriate action only by clear and convincing evidence.


  • The supreme court found that the juvenile court acted within its discretion in concluding that the case, where no one else was a candidate for the privilege and responsibility of fathering the child, was not an appropriate action in which to find that the Cal. Fam. Code § 7611(d) presumption of fatherhood had been rebutted.
The supreme court reversed the appellate court's judgment and remanded the matter for further proceedings.

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