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Name: In re Levi H.
Case #: D059141
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 07/08/2011

A voluntary declaration of paternity extinguishes the presumed father’s status. The minor, Levi, was born to Jade and Andrew, and Andrew signed a declaration of paternity. Jade and Andrew married, then divorced following Andrew’s assault on Jade. Jade was awarded sole legal and physical custody of Levi. Andrew stopped seeing Levi. Jade married Michael and another minor, Maddox was born. Both minors were removed when Maddox suffered a head injury while in Michael’s care. The court designated Michael as Levi’s presumed father. Andrew appeared at the jurisdiction hearing and asked to be designated the presumed father. The court found that the voluntary declaration of paternity already signed rebutted the presumption in favor of Michael and granted Andrew presumed father status. The court found the petition true and removed the minors, placing them with their maternal grandparents. On appeal, Michael contended that the court erred by finding Andrew’s voluntary declaration of paternity rebutted his own status as presumed father to Levi. The appellate court rejected his argument and affirmed. Andrew’s voluntary declaration of paternity trumps presumed father status under section 7611, subdivision (d) as a matter of law. It extinguished Michael’s presumption; there were not two conflicting presumptions subject to the weighing process.