Legislation & Policy

Protecting Parent-Child Relationships

Status: Closed

Outcome: Victory

Location: California

AB 1349 (2011) ensured that California courts would be able to determine who a child’s parents are in cases where a child has both a non-biological parent and a biological father who has signed a voluntary declaration of paternity.

This law fixed a problem caused by an earlier case ruling that courts could not recognize a non-biological parent who had raised the child if another man signed a voluntary declaration of paternity, even if the man who signed the declaration had no relationship with the child and no intention of raising the child.

Before AB 1349, children with non-biological parents were vulnerable to losing the parent they had always known. For example, when a same-sex or different-sex couple used a sperm donor to conceive a child, if the couple later broke up and the sperm donor and the biological mother signed a declaration of paternity, the non-biological parent could not be legally recognized as a parent.

Under this new California law, a man cannot cut off the rights of a non-biological parent by signing a voluntary declaration of paternity. This declaration is only valid if it is also signed by anyone who is presumed to be a parent under California law.