Legal Question in Family Law in California

Does my name on a childs birth certificate establish paternity?

I would like to adopt my 10-year-old stepdaughter. She has an ''absentee'' father that may call her a couple times each year. He has only spent the first two years of her life with her. Other than that, he has been full of empty promises and has never paid child support. He lives in Las Vegas and we live in Oregon. I would like to pursue this adoption without his consent or knowledge. My stepdaughter was born in California and his name is on the birth certificate as her father. Does his name on her birth certificate make him the legal father in the state of California? (Condensed version - please email if more info is needed) Thank-you, Steve

Asked on 5/10/02, 1:28 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Lawrence D. Gorin, Atty. Law Offices of Lawrence Gorin
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Re: Does my name on a childs birth certificate establish paternity?

Yes, your name on the birth certificate is considered as “prima facie” evidence of your legal paternity of the child.

From the facts presented, if you want to adopt your stepdaughter, you would have to give notice to the presently-existing legal father and give him opportunity to object. If he fails to respond with objections to the proposed adoption, you can proceed on a default basis. If he does object, you can still prevail in the adoption but you would have to show that the father has willfully deserted or neglected without just and sufficient cause to provide proper care and maintenance for the child for one year next preceding the filing of the petition for adoption and that it would be in the best interests of the child to allow for the stepparent adoption. In determining whether the parent has willfully deserted or neglected without just and sufficient cause to provide proper care and maintenance for the child, the court may disregard incidental visitations, communications and contributions.

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5/11/02, 2:59 am

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