L.M. v. M.G.: M.G said that L.M. could not be declared C’s second parent because M.G. obtained her parental status through a single parent adoption decree.
FACTS: M.G. challenged judgment under the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) (FC §7600 et seq.) that her former same-sex partner, L.M., is a 2d parent to the child (C) M.G. adopted during their relationship. They were not domestic partners (DPs). M.G. contended that L.M. could not be determined to be C’s second parent because M.G. obtained her parental status through a single parent adoption decree, which, according to M.G., should bar any person from being determined to be C’s 2d parent. Court of Appeal affirmed.
HELD: Mother did not establish that, based on her single parent adoption decree, this was an appropriate action to rebut the parentage presumption in favor of her same-sex partner.
Court of Appeal found the presumption of parentage in favor of L.M. was not rebutted under Family Code section 7612(c) by the adoption decree adjudging M.G. to be C’s parent; no weighing needed under section 7612(b) because there were no conflicting claims or presumptions; and under section 7612(a), the trial court was not required to treat this as an appropriate action to rebut the parentage presumption in favor of L.M.
Court of Appeal noted the stated policy in favor of providing a child with two parents has led courts to conclude that “it would not be an ‘appropriate action’ to rebut a parentage presumption when that presumption arises in favor of a second parent of a child raised by a same-sex couple and there is no other person competing for the second parent position. [Elisa B. v. Superior Court (2005) 37 Cal.4th 108, 122, 125; Charisma R. v. Kristina S. [Charisma II] (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 361, 383; S.Y. v. S.B. (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 1023, 1037.]” (L.M. v. M.G., supra, 208 Cal.App.4th at p. 145.)
Situation here “fit squarely into that fact pattern,” because L.M. and M.G. were a samesex couple who decided together to bring C into their family to jointly raise him, and no other person was competing for the position of second parent. Based on Elisa B. and subsequent cases applying its holding, the trial court correctly determined that “this case is not an appropriate action in which to rebut the presumption.” (L.M. v. M.G., supra, 208 Cal.App.4th at p. 145.)
“[T]he fact that L.M. did not obtain a stepparent adoption, and instead seeks to establish parental rights through the UPA, does not necessarily make this an appropriate action in which to rebut the parentage presumption in favor of L.M.” (L.M. v. M.G., supra, 208 Cal.App.4th at p. 147.)
Garrett C. Dailey is a Certified Family Law Specialist focusing on appellate issues and consultations, a Fellow in American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and publisher/co-author of ATTORNEY’S BRIEFCASE® CALIFORNIA FAMILY LAW, California’s oldest provider of self-contained legal research software. BriefCase is available online and through the Attorney’s BriefCase iPad® app. For more information visit them at www.atybriefcase.com. Also check out their FREE legal education log at www.MyLegalEducationLog.com.