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Italicized text includes proposed additions to law or the previous version of the bill.
Struck text includes proposed deletions to law or the previous version of the bill.

(pdf version)
AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY JULY 2, 2012
AMENDED IN SENATE MAY 25, 2012

INTRODUCED BY Senator Leno

FEBRUARY 24, 2012

An act to amend Sections 3040, 7601, and 7612 of, and to add
Section 4052.5 to, the Family Code, relating to parentage.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 1476, as amended, Leno. Family law: parentage.
(1) Under existing law, a man is conclusively presumed to be the
father of a child if he was married to and cohabiting with the child'
s mother, except as specified. 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.
Existing law further 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, the latter presumptions are rebutted by a judgment establishing
paternity by another man.
This bill would authorize a court to find that a child has 2
presumed parents notwithstanding the statutory presumption of
parentage of the child by another man. The bill would authorize the
court to make this finding if doing so would serve the best interest
of the child based on the nature, duration, and quality of the
presumed or claimed parents' relationships with the child and the
benefit or detriment to the child of continuing those relationships.
(2) The Uniform Parentage Act defines the parent and child
relationship as the legal relationship existing between a child and
the child's parents, including the mother and child relationship and
the father and child relationship, and governs proceedings to
establish that relationship.
This bill would provide that a child may have a parent and child
relationship with more than 2 parents.
(3) Existing law requires a family court to determine the best
interest of the child for purposes of deciding child custody in
proceedings for dissolution of marriage, nullity of marriage, legal
separation of the parties, petitions for exclusive custody of a
child, and proceedings under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act. In
making that determination, the court must consider specified
factors, including the health, safety, and welfare of the child.
Existing law establishes an order of preference for allocating child
custody and directs the court to choose a parenting plan that is in
the child's best interest.
This bill would, in the case of a child with more than 2 legal
parents, require the court to allocate custody and visitation among
the parents based on the best interest of the child, including
stability for the child.
(4) Under existing law, the parents of a minor child are
responsible for supporting the child. Existing law establishes the
statewide uniform guideline for calculating court-ordered child
support. The guideline directs a court to consider the parents'
incomes, standard of living, and level of responsibility for the
child.
This bill would, in the case of a child with more than 2 legal
parents, direct authorize the court
not to divide deviate from
the statewide uniform guideline
when dividing child
support obligations among the parents using the statewide
uniform guideline
. The bill would instead
direct the court to divide the child support obligations
among the parents based on the income of each of the parents and the
amount of time spent with the child by each parent, as specified.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: no.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. Section 3040 of the Family Code is amended to read:
3040. (a) Custody should be granted in the following order of
preference according to the best interest of the child as provided in
Sections 3011 and 3020:
(1) To both parents jointly pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with
Section 3080) or to either parent. In making an order granting
custody to either parent, the court shall consider, among other
factors, which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and
continuing contact with the noncustodial parent, consistent with
Sections 3011 and 3020, and shall not prefer a parent as custodian
because of that parent's sex. The court, in its discretion, may
require the parents to submit to the court a plan for the
implementation of the custody order.
(2) If to neither parent, to the person or persons in whose home
the child has been living in a wholesome and stable environment.
(3) To any other person or persons deemed by the court to be
suitable and able to provide adequate and proper care and guidance
for the child.
(b) This section establishes neither a preference nor a
presumption for or against joint legal custody, joint physical
custody, or sole custody, but allows the court and the family the
widest discretion to choose a parenting plan that is in the best
interest of the child.
(c) In cases where a child has more than two legal parents, the
court shall allocate custody and visitation among the parents based
on the best interest of the child, including, but not limited to,
stability for the child. This may mean that not all parents share
legal or physical custody of the child.
SEC. 2. Section 4052.5 is added to the Family Code, to read:
4052.5. (a) In any case in which a child has more than two legal
parents, the court shall not apply may
deviate from
the statewide uniform guideline. Instead,
the
The court shall divide child support
obligations among the parents based on income and amount of time
spent with the child by each parent, according to the principles set
forth in Section 4053 and the general formula set forth in Section
4055, adjusted to permit recognition of more than two parents.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require
reprogramming of the California Child Support Automation System,
established pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 10080) of
Part 1 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, a change
to the statewide uniform guideline for determining child support
described in Section 4055, or a revision by the Department of Child
Support Services of its regulations, policies, procedures, forms, or
training materials.
SEC. 3. Section 7601 of the Family Code is amended to read:
7601. "Parent and child relationship" as used in this part 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. Nothing in this part shall be construed to preclude a
finding that a child has a parent and child relationship with more
than two parents.
SEC. 4. Section 7612 of the Family Code is amended to read:
7612. (a) Except as provided in Chapter 1 (commencing with
Section 7540) and Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 7570) of Part 2
or in Section 20102, a presumption under Section 7611 is a rebuttable
presumption affecting the burden of proof and may be rebutted in an
appropriate action only by clear and convincing evidence.
(b) If two or more presumptions arise under Section 7610 or 7611
that conflict with each other, or if a presumption under Section 7611
conflicts with a claim pursuant to Section 7610, the presumption
which on the facts is founded on the weightier considerations of
policy and logic controls. In an appropriate action, a court may find
that a child has more than two natural or adoptive parents if
required to serve the best interest of the child. In determining a
child's best interest under this section, a court shall consider the
nature, duration, and quality of the presumed or claimed parents'
relationships with the child and the benefit or detriment to the
child of continuing those relationships.
(c) Unless a court orders otherwise, a presumption under Section
7611 is rebutted by a judgment establishing paternity of the child by
another man.
(d) Within two years of the execution of a voluntary declaration
of paternity, a person who is presumed to be a parent under Section
7611 may file a petition pursuant to Section 7630 to set aside a
voluntary declaration of paternity. The court's ruling on the
petition to set aside the voluntary declaration of paternity shall be
made taking into account the validity of the voluntary declaration
of paternity, and the best interests of the child based upon the
court's consideration of the factors set forth in subdivision (b) of
Section 7575, as well as the best interests of the child based upon
the nature, duration, and quality of the petitioning party's
relationship with the child and the benefit or detriment to the child
of continuing that relationship. In the event of any conflict
between the presumption under Section 7611 and the voluntary
declaration of paternity, the weightier considerations of policy and
logic shall control.
(e) A voluntary declaration of paternity is invalid if, at the
time the declaration was signed, any of the following conditions
exist:
(1) The child already had a presumed parent under Section 7540.
(2) The child already had a presumed parent under subdivision (a),
(b), or (c) of Section 7611.
(3) The man signing the declaration is a sperm donor, consistent
with subdivision (b) of Section 7613.