The California Family Code governs many aspects of family court cases in the state. And many of these statutes apply to matters that affect children, including paternity and child custody issues. In drafting laws affecting children, the legislature has as its primary purpose the best interests of the child. While the premise is basic and simple to understand, sometimes the circumstances surrounding a particular case may complicate matters. Establishing paternity is important for many reasons, most notably for the general welfare of a child, for it is a vehicle through which a child may receive emotional and financial support. Parents who are confronting paternity and related child custody or support issues are encouraged to contact an experienced family law attorney who is fully familiar with the laws and procedures affecting San Diego families.
A recent California case illustrates the complicated nature of, and interplay between, two related paternity statutes. The case involves actor Jason Patric and his former girlfriend, Danielle. While the couple lived together for many years, they never got married. In December 2009, Danielle gave birth to a child that she conceived through in vitro fertilization ("IVF") with sperm that Jason provided to a licensed fertility clinic. There was no declaration of paternity, and Jason is not listed on the child's birth certificate. In June 2012, Jason filed a petition with the court to establish a parental relationship with the child. Danielle opposed the motion, arguing that Jason was a sperm donor within the meaning of the state statute and not the child's natural father as a matter of law.
At trial, Jason provided evidence of his relationship with the child until mid-2012 when Danielle ended her relationship with Jason. But the trial court granted Danielle's motion for nonsuit, finding that section 7613(b) precluded Jason from establishing paternity under section 7611(d). In so holding, the court concluded that under the statute, "There can be no paternity claim from a sperm donor who is not married to the woman who becomes pregnant with the donated semen, so long as it was provided to a licensed physician."