Friday, January 04, 2013

J.R. v. D.P. (Cal. Ct. App. - Dec. 21, 2012)

Nothing from the Ninth Circuit today.  Nothing from the California Court of Appeal either.  A lazy Friday in 2013.

It nonetheless gives us a chance to try to resolve difficult problems.  Like this one:

Biological Father (BF) is married to Wife.  Biological Mother (BM) is living with Boyfriend.   BM is having an affair with BF but also sleeping with Boyfriend, and gets pregnant.  BF and BM get a paternity test that shows that BF is the father, but BF says that can't be true because he's had "an operation" so wants a new (more accurate) paternity test after the child is born.

BF and BM break up, the kid is born, and BM marries Boyfriend.  Boyfriend doesn't know about any of this, and signs a voluntary declaration of paternity in the hospital when BM represents (in writing on the relevant form) that no one else but Boyfriend could be the father; i.e., that she was not sleeping with anyone else.  BM and Boyfriend raise the kid together.

Then Wife -- presumably upon learning of the affair -- tells Boyfriend about the test results.  Boyfriend is profoundly bummed, but still wants to raise the kid as his own.  But BF now wants joint custody of the child.  So sues.  Whereas BM and Boyfriend don't want BF involved.

I have no idea the right thing to do in a case like that.  No idea.  It's just a monster clusterfart.

Here's what, in fact, we do.

Whether that's the right thing?  Best for everyone (especially the child)?

No clue.