BILL NUMBER: AB 2020	AMENDED
	BILL TEXT

	AMENDED IN ASSEMBLY  MARCH 15, 2010

INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Fletcher

                        FEBRUARY 17, 2010

   An act to amend Sections  7573, 7612, 7630, 7646,
  7630,  7662, 7667, and 8710 of, and to repeal
Section 7631 of, the Family Code, relating to family law.


	LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


   AB 2020, as amended, Fletcher. Family law.
   Under existing law, a man is presumed to be a child's father if he
marries or attempts to marry the child's mother or if he holds the
child out as his own, as specified. Existing law provides that the
presumption of paternity arising under these circumstances is
rebuttable, and is rebutted by a judgment establishing paternity by
another man. Existing law  provides that if conflicting
presumptions of paternity arise, the court is required to determine
which presumption is founded on the weightier considerations of
policy and logic. Under existing law, a voluntary declaration of
paternity has the force and effect of a judgment of paternity, except
as provided.  
   This bill would provide that a judgment of paternity by another
man does not rebut a presumption of paternity if that judgment was
obtained by a plaintiff seeking a child support order against the
father or as the result of a voluntary declaration of paternity, and
would require the court in those cases to determine which presumption
is founded on the weightier considerations of policy and logic. The
bill would provide that if another man is presumed to be the child's
father, a voluntary declaration of paternity is only valid with that
other man's written consent. 
    Existing law  provides that a  motion to
set aside a judgment of paternity may be brought by the child's
mother or the previously established father within 2 years of the
judgment.   man may bring an action at any time to
determine that he is the father of a child having no presumed father.
 Under existing law, a man who is not a presumed father may
bring an action to establish that he is the natural father of
 the   a  child  having a presumed
father  if the mother has relinquished for, or consents to, the
adoption of the child,  as specified   and
requires that he bring this action within 30 days after (1) he is
served with notice that he is or could be the father or (2) the birth
of the child, whichever is later  . 
   This bill would include presumed fathers among those who can bring
an action to set aside a judgment of paternity during that 2-year
period. The 
    This  bill would  delete these provisions and would
instead  provide that a man may bring an action at any time to
establish that he is the father of a child,  regardless of
whether he is a presumed father   subject to a specified
exception  .
   Existing law provides that if a mother consents to, or
relinquishes for, the adoption of a child, a petition to terminate
the parental rights of the father is required, subject to specified
exceptions, and an action to terminate the parental rights of a
father shall be set for a hearing.
   This bill would authorize the court in an action to terminate
parental rights to dispense with a hearing and issue an ex parte
order terminating parental rights if the identity or whereabouts of
the alleged father is unknown, he has been served with a written
notice of his alleged paternity and the potential adoption and has
failed to respond, or he has signed a waiver of his right to notice
or a denial of paternity.
   Existing law provides that if a child is being considered for
adoption, the State Department of Social Services or licensed
adoption agency is required to first consider adoptive placement in
the home of a relative, unless it is not in the child's best
interest, or if other specified conditions exist.
   This bill would specify that a parent's refusal to place the child
with relatives or siblings is a sufficient basis for the department
or licensed adoption agency to determine that the placement is not in
the child's best interest, except as provided.
   Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no.
State-mandated local program: no.


THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
   
  SECTION 1.    Section 7573 of the Family Code is
amended to read:
   7573.  Except as provided in Sections 7575, 7576, 7577, and 7612,
a completed voluntary declaration of paternity, as described in
Section 7574, that has been filed with the Department of Child
Support Services shall establish the paternity of a child and shall
have the same force and effect as a judgment for paternity issued by
a court of competent jurisdiction. The voluntary declaration of
paternity shall be recognized as a basis for the establishment of an
order for child custody, visitation, or child support. However, if
another man is presumed to be the child's father under Section 7611,
a voluntary declaration of paternity is valid only with that other
man's written consent.  
  SEC. 2.    Section 7612 of the Family Code is
amended to read:
   7612.  (a) Except as provided in Chapter 1 (commencing with
Section 7540) and Chapter 3 (commencing with Section 7570) of Part 2
or in Section 20102, a presumption under Section 7611 is a rebuttable
presumption affecting the burden of proof and may be rebutted in an
appropriate action only by clear and convincing evidence.
   (b) If two or more presumptions arise under Section 7610 or 7611
that conflict with each other, or if a presumption under Section 7611
conflicts with a claim pursuant to Section 7610, the presumption
which on the facts is founded on the weightier considerations of
policy and logic controls.
   (c) The presumption under Section 7611 is rebutted by a judgment
establishing paternity of the child by another man, unless that
judgment was obtained by a plaintiff seeking a child support order
against the father or as the result of a voluntary declaration of
paternity, in which case the court shall decide the issue of
paternity pursuant to subdivision (b). A motion to challenge a
judgment of paternity shall be brought within the time period
specified in Section 7646. 
   SEC. 3.   SECTION 1.   Section 7630 of
the Family Code is amended to read:
   7630.  (a) A child, the child's natural mother, a man presumed to
be the child's father under subdivision (a), (b), or (c) of Section
7611, an adoption agency to whom the child has been relinquished, or
a prospective adoptive parent of the child may bring an action as
follows:
   (1) At any time for the purpose of declaring the existence of the
father and child relationship presumed under subdivision (a), (b), or
(c) of Section 7611.
   (2) For the purpose of declaring the nonexistence of the father
and child relationship presumed under subdivision (a), (b), or (c) of
Section 7611 only if the action is brought within a reasonable time
after obtaining knowledge of relevant facts. After the presumption
has been rebutted, paternity of the child by another man may be
determined in the same action, if he has been made a party.
   (b) Any interested party may bring an action at any time for the
purpose of determining the existence or nonexistence of the father
and child relationship presumed under subdivision (d) or (f) of
Section 7611.
   (c) Except as to cases coming within Chapter 1 (commencing with
Section 7540) of Part 2, an action to determine the existence of the
father and child relationship may be brought by the child or personal
representative of the child, the Department of Child Support
Services, the mother or the personal representative or a parent of
the mother if the mother has died or is a minor, a man alleged or
alleging himself to be the father, or the personal representative or
a parent of the alleged father if the alleged father has died or is a
minor.
   (d) (1) If a proceeding has been filed under Chapter 2 (commencing
with Section 7820) of Part 4, an action under subdivision (a) or (b)
shall be consolidated with that proceeding. The parental rights of
the presumed father shall be determined as set forth in Sections 7820
to 7829, inclusive.
   (2) If a proceeding pursuant to Section 7662 has been filed under
Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 7660), an action under subdivision
(c) shall be consolidated with that proceeding. The parental rights
of the alleged natural father shall be determined as set forth in
Section 7664.
   (3) The consolidated action under paragraph (1) or (2) shall be
heard in the court in which the proceeding under Section 7662 or
Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 7820) of Part 4 is filed, unless
the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that transferring
the action to the other court poses a substantial hardship to the
petitioner. Mere inconvenience does not constitute a sufficient basis
for a finding of substantial hardship. If the court determines there
is a substantial hardship, the consolidated action shall be heard in
the court in which the paternity action is filed.
   (e) (1) If any prospective adoptive parent who has physical
custody of the child, or any licensed California adoption agency that
has legal custody of the child, has not been joined as a party to an
action to determine the existence of a father and child relationship
under subdivision (a), (b), or (c), or an action for custody by the
alleged natural father, the court shall join the prospective adoptive
parent or licensed California adoption agency as a party upon
application or on its own motion, without the necessity of a motion
for joinder. A joined party shall not be required to pay a fee in
connection with this action.
   (2) If a man brings an action to determine paternity and custody
of a child who he has reason to believe is in the physical or legal
custody of an adoption agency, or of one or more persons other than
the child's mother who are prospective adoptive parents, he shall
serve his entire pleading on, and give notice of all proceedings to,
the adoption agency or the prospective adoptive parents, or both.
   (f) A party to an assisted reproduction agreement may bring an
action at any time to establish a parent and child relationship
consistent with the intent expressed in that assisted reproduction
agreement.
   SEC. 4.   SEC. 2.   Section 7631 of the
Family Code is repealed. 
  SEC. 5.    Section 7646 of the Family Code is
amended to read:
   7646.  (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a judgment
establishing paternity may be set aside or vacated upon a motion by
the previously established mother of a child, the previously
established father of a child, a man presumed to be the father
pursuant to Section 7611, the child, or the legal representative of
any of these persons if genetic testing indicates that the previously
established father of a child is not the biological father of the
child. The motion shall be brought within one of the following time
periods:
   (1) Within a two-year period commencing with the date on which the
previously established father or presumed father knew or should have
known of a judgment that established the previously established
father as the father of the child or commencing with the date the
previously established father or presumed father knew or should have
known of the existence of an action to adjudicate the issue of
paternity, whichever is first, except as provided in paragraph (2) or
(3) of this subdivision.
   (2) Within a two-year period commencing with the date of the child'
s birth if paternity was established by a voluntary declaration of
paternity. Nothing in this paragraph shall bar any rights under
subdivision (c) of Section 7575.
   (3) In the case of any previously established father who is the
legal father as a result of a default judgment as of the effective
date of this section, within a two-year period from January 1, 2005,
to December 31, 2006, inclusive.
   (b) Subdivision (a) does not apply if the child is presumed to be
a child of a marriage pursuant to Section 7540.
   (c) Reconsideration of a motion brought under paragraph (3) of
subdivision (a) may be requested and granted if the following
requirements are met:
   (1) The motion was filed with the court between September 24,
2006, and December 31, 2006, inclusive.
   (2) The motion was denied solely on the basis that it was
untimely.
   (3) The request for reconsideration of the motion is filed on or
before December 31, 2009. 
   SEC. 6.   SEC. 3.   Section 7662 of the
Family Code is amended to read:
   7662.  (a) If a mother relinquishes for or consents to, or
proposes to relinquish for or consent to, the adoption of a child, or
if a child otherwise becomes the subject of an adoption proceeding,
the agency or person to whom the child has been or is to be
relinquished, or the mother or the person having physical or legal
custody of the child, or the prospective adoptive parent, shall file
a petition to terminate the parental rights of the father, unless one
of the following occurs:
   (1) The father's relationship to the child has been previously
terminated or determined not to exist by a court.
   (2) The father has been served as prescribed in Section 7666 with
a written notice alleging that he is or could be the natural father
of the child to be adopted or placed for adoption and has failed to
bring an action for the purpose of declaring the existence of the
father and child relationship pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section
7630 within 30 days of service of the notice or the birth of the
child, whichever is later.
   (3) The alleged father has executed a written form developed by
the department to waive notice, to deny his paternity, relinquish the
child for adoption, or consent to the adoption of the child.
   (b) The birth father may validly execute a waiver or denial of
paternity before or after the birth of the child, and once signed, no
notice of, relinquishment for, or consent to adoption of the child
shall be required from the birth father for the adoption to proceed.
   (c) All proceedings affecting a child under Divisions 8
(commencing with Section 3000) to 11 (commencing with Section 6500),
inclusive, and Parts 1 (commencing with Section 7500) to 3
(commencing with Section 7600), inclusive, of this division, other
than an action brought pursuant to this section, shall be stayed
pending final determination of proceedings to terminate the parental
rights of the father pursuant to this section.
   (d) Nothing in this section may limit the jurisdiction of the
court pursuant to Part 3 (commencing with Section 6240) and Part 4
(commencing with Section 6300) of Division 10 with respect to
domestic violence orders.
   SEC. 7.   SEC. 4.   Section 7667 of the
Family Code is amended to read:
   7667.  (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an action
to terminate the parental rights of a father of a child as specified
in this part shall be set for hearing not more than 45 days after
filing of the petition therefor and completion of service thereon or
the entry of an order dispensing with notice of the proceedings. The
petition shall either specify the date of the hearing or state that a
hearing will be held on a date as determined pursuant to this
section, which shall be separately noticed.
   (b) The matter so set shall have precedence over all other civil
matters on the date set for trial, except an action to terminate
parental rights pursuant to Part 4 (commencing with Section 7800).
   (c) The court may dispense with a hearing and issue an ex parte
order terminating parental rights if any of the following apply:
   (1) The identity or whereabouts of the father are unknown.
   (2) The alleged father has validly executed a waiver of the right
to notice or a waiver or denial of paternity.
   (3) The alleged father has been served with written notice of his
alleged paternity and the proposed adoption, and he has failed to
bring an action pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 7630 within 30
days of service of the notice or the birth of the child, whichever
is later.
  SEC. 8.   SEC. 5.   Section 8710 of the
Family Code is amended to read:
   8710.  (a) If a child is being considered for adoption, the
department or licensed adoption agency shall first consider adoptive
placement in the home of a relative or, in the case of an Indian
child, according to the placement preferences and standards set out
in subdivisions (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), and (i) of Section
361.31 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. However, if a relative
is not available, if placement with an available relative is not in
the child's best interest, or if placement would permanently separate
the child from other siblings who are being considered for adoption
or who are in foster care and an alternative placement would not
require the permanent separation, the foster parent or parents of the
child shall be considered with respect to the child along with all
other prospective adoptive parents where all of the following
conditions are present:
   (1) The child has been in foster care with the foster parent or
parents for a period of more than four months.
   (2) The child has substantial emotional ties to the foster parent
or parents.
   (3) The child's removal from the foster home would be seriously
detrimental to the child's well-being.
   (4) The foster parent or parents have made a written request to be
considered to adopt the child.
   (b) In the case of an Indian child whose foster parent or parents
or other prospective adoptive parents do not fall within the
placement preferences established in subdivision (c) or (d) of
Section 361.31 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, the foster
parent or parents or other prospective adoptive parents shall only be
considered if the court finds, supported by clear and convincing
evidence, that good cause exists to deviate from these placement
preferences.
   (c) Except as required by the Indian Child Welfare Act (25 U.S.C.
Sec. 1901 et seq.), the refusal of a birth parent to place the child
with relatives or siblings shall be a sufficient basis for the
department or licensed adoption agency to find that the placement is
not in the best interest of the child.
   (d) This section does not apply to a child who has been adjudged a
dependent of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 300 of the
Welfare and Institutions Code, or to a child whose prospective
adoptive parents were selected pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section
8700 or Section 8801.
   (e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to require a child
who has been placed for adoption to be removed from the adoptive home
for the purpose of placement with siblings or other relatives.