BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                  SB 1476|
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                              UNFINISHED BUSINESS

          Bill No:  SB 1476
          Author:   Leno (D)
          Amended:  8/22/12
          Vote:     21

           SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE  :  3-2, 5/8/12
          AYES:  Evans, Corbett, Leno
          NOES:  Harman, Blakeslee

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  5-2, 5/24/12
          AYES:  Kehoe, Alquist, Lieu, Price, Steinberg
          NOES:  Walters, Dutton

           SENATE FLOOR :  24-13, 5/30/12
          AYES:  Alquist, Calderon, Corbett, Correa, De León, 
            DeSaulnier, Evans, Hancock, Hernandez, Kehoe, Leno, Lieu, 
            Liu, Lowenthal, Negrete McLeod, Padilla, Pavley, Price, 
            Simitian, Steinberg, Vargas, Wolk, Wright, Yee
          NOES:  Anderson, Berryhill, Blakeslee, Cannella, Dutton, 
            Emmerson, Fuller, Gaines, Harman, Huff, La Malfa, 
            Walters, Wyland
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Rubio, Runner, Strickland

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  52-27, 8/27/12 - See last page for vote

           SUBJECT  :    Family law:  parentage

           SOURCE :     University of San Diego Childrens Advocacy 
                      National Center for Lesbian Rights



                                                               SB 1476

           DIGEST  :    This bill permits a court, in appropriate cases, 
          to find that a child has more than two legal parents.

           Assembly Amendments  (1) in any case in which a child has 
          more than two legal parents, require the application of the 
          statewide uniform guideline as required by federal 
          regulations, unless the court finds the application of the 
          guideline in that case is a special circumstance, (2) adds 
          "cases in which a child is found to have more than two 
          legal parents" as a special circumstance that may be used 
          to show the application of the child support formula is 
          unjust or inappropriate, and (3) states that Section 1.5 of 
          the bill shall not take effect if SB 1064 (De León) is 
          enacted prior to this bill.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law:

          1.Establishes the California Uniform Parentage Act.  
            Defines a parent and child relationship as the legal 
            relationship existing between a child and the child's 
            natural or adoptive parents incident to which the law 
            confers or imposes rights, privileges, duties and 
            obligations.  The term includes the mother and child 
            relationship and the father and child relationship. 

          2.Provides that the child of a wife who is living with her 
            husband, who is not sterile, is conclusively presumed to 
            be a child of the marriage, except as provided. 

          3.Defines a man as a presumed father if, among other 
            things:  a) he was married to the child's mother and the 
            child was born within 300 days of the marriage; b) he 
            attempted to marry the child's mother; or, c) he holds 
            the child out as his own.  Requires that these 
            presumptions be applied gender neutrally. 

          4.If two or more paternity presumptions conflict with one 
            another, the presumption that is founded on the weightier 
            considerations of policy and logic controls.  Provides 
            that a presumption of parentage is rebutted by a judgment 
            establishing paternity of the child by another man. 

          5.Provides that paternity may be established by voluntary 


                                                               SB 1476

            declaration for unmarried parents, or through a civil 
            action brought by any interested party, as specified. 

          6.Provides that domestic partners have the same rights, 
            protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the 
            same responsibilities, obligations and duties under law 
            as are granted to and imposed on spouses. 

          7.Outlines factors the court shall consider in determining 
            the best interest of the child, including, among others, 
            the health, safety, and welfare of the child; any history 
            of abuse by one parent or any other person seeking 
            custody against another child, the other parent, a spouse 
            or significant other; the nature and amount of contact 
            the child has with both parents; and any other factors 
            the court finds relevant. 

          8.Provides that custody of a child should be granted in the 
            following order of preference:  to parents jointly; to 
            either parent taking into consideration which parent is 
            more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing 
            contact with the noncustodial parent; to the person in 
            whose home the child has been living in a wholesome and 
            stable environment.  Allows the court and the family the 
            widest discretion to choose a parenting plan that is in 
            the best interest of the child. 

          9.Provides a formula for calculating child support, and 
            provides a rebuttable presumption that the formula 
            results in a correct amount.  This presumption can be 
            rebutted by, among other factors, the fact that 
            application of the formula would be unjust or 
            inappropriate due to special circumstances. 

          This bill: 

          1.Provides that nothing in the Uniform Parentage Act should 
            be construed to preclude a finding that a child has a 
            parent-child relationship with more than two parents. 

          2.Allows a court to find that a presumption of paternity is 
            not necessarily rebutted by a judgment establishing 
            paternity by another person. 


                                                               SB 1476

          3.Provides that where two or more claims or presumptions of 
            parentage have been established, a court may find that a 
            child has more than two natural or adoptive parents if it 
            is required to serve the best interests of the child.  
            Requires the court, in determining the best interest of 
            the child, to consider the nature, duration, and quality 
            of the presumed or claimed parents' relationships with 
            the child, and the benefit or detriment to the child of 
            continuing those relationships. 

          4.Provides that in any case where a child has more than two 
            legal parents, the court shall allocate custody and 
            visitation among the parents based on the best interest 
            of the child, including, but not limited to stability for 
            the child. States that this may mean that not all parents 
            share legal or physical custody of the child. 

          5.Provides that the statewide child support guideline shall 
            apply in any case with more than two parents, unless the 
            court finds that application of the guideline is unjust 
            or inappropriate.  Provides that the guideline amount may 
            be rebutted in any case where a child has more than two 
            legal parents.  Provides that this shall not be construed 
            to require reprogramming of the California Child Support 
            Automation System, a change in the guideline, or a 
            revision in any Department of Child Support Services' 
            regulation, policy, procedure, form or training material. 

          6.Contains chaptering out amendments for SB 1064 (De León). 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  No   
          Local:  No

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee:

           Potential future cost pressure of approximately $6.4 
            million (General Fund) to the Department of Child Support 
            Services to the extent the Department could be required 
            to re-program the child support guideline calculator and 
            Child Support Enforcement automation system to reflect an 
            adjusted statewide uniform guideline in the future due to 
            the provisions of this bill.


                                                               SB 1476

           Near-term costs to the courts likely less than $25,000 
            (General Fund) per year to determine child support 
            obligations by deviating from the statewide uniform 
            guideline and adjusting the child support payment formula 
            as specified, to the extent allowable under the 
            provisions of this bill.
           Potential cost pressure on the Judicial Council to review 
            the statewide uniform guideline and recommend potential 
            revisions to the Legislature in advance of the four-year 
            interval specified under existing law.
           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/27/12)

          University of San Diego School of Law's Children's Advocacy 
          Institute (co-source) 
          National Center for Lesbian Rights (co-source) 
          California Alliance of Child and Family Services
          California Welfare Directors Association
          Children's Law Center of California
          Equality California
          Friends Committee on Legislation
          Legal Services for Children
          National Association of Counsel for Children
          National Association of Social Workers
          Our Family Coalition
          Public Counsel Law Center - The Public Interest Law Office 
          of the Los                                             
          Angeles County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations, 
          Children's Rights                                      
          Youth Law Center

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  8/27/12)

          Association of Certified Family Law Specialists
          Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
          California Protective Parents Association

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    In support of this bill, the 
          author writes:

               Families are formed in many different ways that were 


                                                               SB 1476

               not considered when the parentage laws were written.  
               Meanwhile, courts see these situations on a daily 
               basis and need more tools to protect the best 
               interests of children. ?

               SB 1476 protects children by allowing judges, based on 
               the evidence, to recognize the bonds between children 
               and their parents.  Recognition of legal parenthood 
               also gives the child the right to support from all her 
               parents, as well as access to health insurance, 
               benefits, and inheritance rights.  Recognizing these 
               families can also reduce the state's financial 
               responsibility for the child because all parents have 
               the obligation to support the child.  In dependency 
               actions, if a child has more than two parents, legal 
               acknowledgement of more than two of those parents may 
               keep the child out of foster care by giving the court 
               more options for placement. 

           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    The opposition to this bill is 
          concerned that unintended consequences of this bill will be 
          overly burdensome on the courts.  The Association of 
          Certified Family Law Specialists argues that "parentage can 
          be litigated in all sorts of proceedings and legal 
          parentage may include different rights in other areas of 
          federal and state law, including citizenship, tax 
          deductions, social security, educational proceedings, 
          probate, wrongful death, and so on.  A statute expanding 
          legal parenthood has to thoughtfully consider the 
          implications in these myriad of other contexts."  On a 
          similar note, regarding the issue of child support, the 
          Association of Family Conciliation Courts argues that, 
          "Ýt]he current statewide guideline is not set up to handle 
          child support between more than two parents.  The courts 
          have no money and there is no one to pay for totally 
          overhauling the existing formula, software, etc. to make 
          such a law effective."  

          The Association of Family Conciliation Courts has expressed 
          concern that "this bill does not provide for any limitation 
          of these potential parents.  A child's time can barely be 
          handled effectively between two conflicted parents, and 
          often the children are caught in the middle.  If three or 
          four different people with "parental" claims have differing 


                                                               SB 1476

          perspectives regarding the child we will have created an 
          untenable situation for the child and an even greater 
          degree of conflict."

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  52-27, 8/27/12
          AYES:  Alejo, Allen, Ammiano, Atkins, Beall, Block, 
            Blumenfield, Bonilla, Bradford, Brownley, Buchanan, 
            Butler, Charles Calderon, Campos, Carter, Cedillo, 
            Chesbro, Davis, Dickinson, Eng, Feuer, Fong, Fuentes, 
            Furutani, Galgiani, Gatto, Gordon, Hall, Hayashi, Roger 
            Hernández, Hill, Huber, Hueso, Huffman, Lara, Bonnie 
            Lowenthal, Ma, Mendoza, Mitchell, Monning, Pan, Perea, V. 
            Manuel Pérez, Portantino, Skinner, Solorio, Swanson, 
            Torres, Wieckowski, Williams, Yamada, John A. Pérez
          NOES:  Achadjian, Bill Berryhill, Conway, Cook, Donnelly, 
            Beth Gaines, Garrick, Gorell, Grove, Hagman, Halderman, 
            Harkey, Jeffries, Jones, Knight, Logue, Mansoor, Miller, 
            Morrell, Nestande, Nielsen, Norby, Olsen, Silva, Smyth, 
            Valadao, Wagner
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Fletcher

          RJG:nm   8/28/12   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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