Skip to content
Name: In re Jovanni B.
Case #: B246197
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 12/11/2013

Reversal was required where an alleged father seeking presumed status was excluded from the proceedings merely because he was not the child’s biological father. John lived with mother when Jovanni was born and signed a voluntary declaration of paternity (VDOP), stating he was Jovanni’s biological father. After a paternity test revealed that Brian was Jovanni’s biological father, the juvenile court excluded John from the proceedings and adjudicated Brian the biological father. John appealed. The appellate court declined to determine whether John should have been granted presumed father status, instead holding the juvenile court erred in excluding him from the proceedings. A man may be a child’s presumed father even though he is not the child’s biological father. Remand was necessary for the trial court to consider John’s request for presumed status, and to resolve the competing claims of paternity pursuant to Family Code section 7612. In addition, the juvenile court must determine whether John’s VDOP should be set aside, since he is not Jovanni’s biological father.

Remand for Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) inquiries was required where the minute order erroneously indicated the court found ICWA did not apply. Mother told the Department she may have Vergo Indian ancestry and indicated possible Indian ancestry on the parental notification of Indian status. The court ordered the Department to interview mother, but the minute order did not reflect this, instead stating: “Court finds no reasons to believe ICWA applies to this case.” Since the court did not make an ICWA finding, remand was necessary.