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Name: In re P.A.
Case #: D058816
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/29/2011

Where minor had both presumed and biological fathers, the court must hold a hearing to reconcile competing paternity interests. The minor came to the attention of the Department as a result of domestic violence between mother and stepfather, Roger. Roger was found to be the presumed father under section 7611, subdivision (d). When genetic testing showed that Alvaro was the minor’s biological father, the court entered a judgment of paternity in his favor and found that the judgment rebutted the presumption of paternity for Roger. Roger appealed, contending that the court erred by entering a judgment for Alvaro without first considering Roger’s competing interest. The appellate court agreed and reversed. Where a child has both a presumed and a biological father, the court must hold an evidentiary hearing at which it reconciles the competing paternity interests to determine which of those interests are founded on the weightier considerations of policy and logic. Upon remand, the juvenile court may also consider circumstances as they have developed since the parentage determination.