AB 1349 is another important piece of law to be aware of that affects parentage in California.  This recent legislation amends several Family Law codes to revise certain provisions regarding the effect of a voluntary declaration of Paternity, particularly if a conflicting parentage presumption exists.  This bill also permits a sperm donor to be treated as the natural father of a child under specifically enumerated circumstances.

With certain exceptions, a man is conclusively presumed to be the father of a child under existing law if he was married to and cohabiting with the child’s mother.  Existing law also provides that if a man signs a voluntary declaration of paternity, it has the force and effect of a judgment of paternity, subject to certain exceptions.  As it stands, the law also provides that a man is rebuttably presumed to be the father if he was married to, or attempted to marry, the mother before or after the birth of the child, or he receives the child as his own and openly holds the child out as his own.

Under existing law, a voluntary declaration of paternity may be set aside by the court if genetic evidence establishes the man is not the father of the child, while the latter presumptions are rebutted by a judgment establishing paternity by another man.  Existing law also provides that if two or more presumptions conflict with each other, the presumption which on the facts is founded on the weightier considerations of policy and logic controls.

AB 1349 now provides that a voluntary declaration of paternity is invalid if, at the time the declaration was signed, the child already had a presumed parent, as specified, or if the man signing the declaration is a sperm donor.  AB 1349 authorizes a person who is rebuttably presumed to be the child’s parent under the above-described provisions to bring a motion to set aside a voluntary declaration of paternity, and requires the court to consider specified factors, including the nature, duration, and quality of the petitioning party’s relationship with the child in deciding whether to set aside the voluntary declaration of paternity.  The bill includes these proceedings among the exceptions to the provision that a voluntary declaration of paternity has the force and effect of a judgment of paternity.

AB 1349 provides that, in the event of a conflict between a rebuttable presumption of paternity and the voluntary declaration of paternity, the weightier considerations of logic and policy control.

Also, AB 1349 enables a sperm donor to be treated as a natural father if that relationship is agreed to in a writing signed before the child’s conception by the donor and the woman inseminated.  And a licensed physician performed the insemination.

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