California Family Code Section 7611(D) - Interpretation

Section 7611(d) provides that a man is presumed to be the father of a child if he "receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child." As explained in Adoption of Michael H. (1995) 10 Cal.4th 1043, 1050-1051 43 Cal. Rptr. 2d 445, 898 P.2d 891, "An unwed father's rights and duties ... substantially depend on whether he is a 'presumed father' within the meaning of section 7611. ... to become a presumed father, a man who has neither married nor attempted to marry his child's biological mother must not only openly and publicly admit paternity, but must also physically bring the child into his home." (See also In re Spencer W. (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1647, 1652 56 Cal. Rptr. 2d 524 (Spencer W.).) In re A.A. (2003) 114 Cal.App.4th 771, does characterize cohabitation for a period of "one to three months" as "exceedingly small," but it does not suggest that section 7611(d) contains a durational requirement. Instead, the court reversed the trial court's presumed parenthood finding because the evidence supporting the finding was "secondhand," the minor did not live with or visit the alleged father in the man's own home, and there was little evidence the man held himself out as the minor's father. (In re A.A., at pp. 786-787.) Moreover, In re A.A. ultimately adopted an expansive interpretation of the "receives" requirement, in holding the trial court erred in refusing to find a second man a presumed father, even though the minor never actually lived with the man. The court reasoned: "The record is clear that the minor never actually lived with R.B. However, when a mother and father of a child are not inclined to live with each other, their child often lives with only one of the parents and visits the other. ... Although the minor was not received into R.B.'s home to live with him on a full-time basis, he was involved with the minor from the very beginning, with Mother's blessing. He took this interest in the minor even though he was not convinced she is his biological daughter. Thus, when his own son, R., came to visit him, so also did the minor child, whom the record shows was bonded with R." (Id. at p. 784.)