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What should I do if I believe I am the father of a child not yet born?

An unmarried bio-father who consistently sought to be determined to be a child's father and repeatedly requested visitation is a presumed parent of the child. A person who lived with the child's mother for only two weeks before and two weeks after the child was born and cared for the child only sporadically thereafter is not a FC §7611(d) father.

In a recent case In Re DA (2012), a father by the name of C.R. was D.A.'s biological father. In early 2009, D.A.'s mother (Mother) began an intimate relationship with E.A. Later that year, Mother informed E.A. that she might be pregnant and told him that he was the father. He believed her. A few months after that, Mother told C.R. she was pregnant and told him he might be the father.

C.R. told Mother that he wanted a paternity test as soon as the child was born and offered to help her with any expenses associated with the pregnancy, childbirth and the baby. He took mother to two doctor visits during the pregnancy, but shortly thereafter, Mother disconnected her phone and refused all attempts by C.R. to contact her directly. Although C.R. repeatedly attempted to reach mother through her aunt to "find out how the pregnancy was going" and to see if he "could help and participate in the process," his efforts were rejected. About two weeks before D.A. was delivered, E.A. moved in with Mother. He took mother to some prenatal appointments and was present at the hospital when D.A. was born in November 2009.

The court applied Ca Family Code (FC) section 7611 which sets forth several rebuttable presumptions under which a man may qualify as a presumed father." ( In re M.C. (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th at p. 212.). Case law holds, however, that under certain circumstances a man may acquire all of the rights of a presumed father without meeting the requirements of any of the statutory presumptions. Under Kelsey S. (1992 Cal. 4th 816), "an unwed biological father who comes forward at the first opportunity to assert his paternal rights after learning of his child's existence, but has been prevented from becoming a statutorily presumed father under section 7611 by the unilateral conduct of the child's mother or a third party's interference" acquires a status "equivalent to presumed parent status under section 7611." (In re M.C. at pp. 213, 220.)

The court found that C.R.’s efforts in attempting to establish a relationship with D.A. was sufficient to be found the presumed father and hence custody of the child when Mother was subsequently arrested for drug possession.

It is imperative that if you believe that you may be the father of a child to contact an experienced attorney such as Covina attorney Paul A. Eads to make that determination and prevent another party from wrongfully obtaining custody.

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