Jan 23, 2007 Robin Meadow Family Law
Court of Appeal reverses dismissal of petition to establish non-paternity

Said v. Jegan (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 1375 (California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 8 (Los Angeles)) [published]. Robin Meadow secured this reversal despite an earlier published case that seemed directly contrary. When GMSR’s client discovered that his former wife had placed his name on the birth certificate of a child born fourteen months after they divorced, he sued to obtain a declaration of nonpaternity. The trial court ruled that he lacked standing under the Uniform Parentage Act. It construed the Act to require that a person in the client’s position must be a “presumed father” – that is, someone who “receives the child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child” – in order to file a nonpaternity petition. The Court of Appeal ruled that the apparently contrary decision did not apply. Observing that “[the] ‘acid test’ of statutory construction is always whether an interpretation yields [an] absurd result,” it agreed with GMSR that “respondent’s argument produces the absurd result that a man must both plead and prove he is the child’s presumed father in order to have standing to disprove paternity under [the Act].”