Paternity Judgment to Achieve Presumed Father Status
In In re E.O. (2010) 182 Cal.App.4th 722, N.M. sought presumed father status based on a paternity and child support judgment.
The judgment was not based on a voluntary declaration of paternity.
The court rejected his claim that because of the judgment, it was immaterial that he did not qualify as a presumed father under any of the categories enumerated in Family Code section 7611.
N.M. requested presumed father status based on a paternity and child support judgment. (E.O., supra, 182 Cal.App.4th at p. 724.)
The judgment was not the result of a voluntary declaration of paternity. (Ibid.)
On appeal, N.M. argued that his failure to satisfy any of the categories set forth in Family Code section 7611 was irrelevant because the paternity judgment declared him to be the children's father. (E.O., at p. 727.)
The court in E.O. distinguished the public policy objectives of the paternity judgment and voluntary declaration, explaining,
"A paternity judgment is, as the name implies, a judicial determination that a parent-child relationship exists. It is designed primarily to settle questions of biology and provides the foundation for an order that the father provide financial support.... Presumed father status, by contrast, is concerned with a different issue: whether a man has promptly come forward and demonstrated his '"full commitment to his paternal responsibilities--emotional, financial, and otherwise."' " (E.O., supra, 182 Cal.App.4th at pp. 727-728.)
Ultimately, the court in E.O. rejected N.M.'s argument as fundamentally unsound:
"A prior paternity judgment is simply not one of the ways set forth in Family Code section 7611 that a man can achieve presumed father status." (E.O., supra, 182 Cal.App.4th at p. 727.)