California : Family Code: 7570-7577
(provided by Divorce Source, Inc.)
Published 5.20.98

7570. The Legislature hereby finds and declares as follows:

7571. (a) On and after January 1, 1995, upon the event of a live birth, prior to an unmarried mother leaving any hospital, the person responsible for registering live births under Section 102405 of the Health and Safety Code shall provide to the natural mother and shall attempt to provide, at the place of birth, to the man identified by the natural mother as the natural father, a voluntary declaration of paternity together with the written materials described in Section 7572. The person responsible for registering the birth shall file the declaration, if completed, with the birth certificate, and, if requested, shall transmit a copy of the declaration to the district attorney of the county where the birth occurred. A copy of the declaration shall be made available to each of the attesting parents.

(b) No health care provider shall be subject to any civil, criminal, or administrative liability for any negligent act or omission relative to the accuracy of the information provided, or for filing the declaration with the appropriate state or local agencies.

(c) The district attorney shall pay the sum of ten dollars ($10) to birthing hospitals and other entities that provide prenatal services for each completed declaration of paternity that is filed with the State Office of Vital Records, provided that the district attorney and the hospital or other entity providing prenatal services has entered into a written agreement that specifies the terms and conditions for the payment as required by federal law.

(d) If the declaration is not registered by the person responsible for registering live births at the hospital, it may be completed by the attesting parents, notarized, and mailed to the State Office of Vital Records at any time after the child's birth.

(e) Prenatal clinics may offer prospective parents the opportunity to sign a voluntary declaration of paternity. In order to be paid for their services as provided in subdivision (c), prenatal clinics must ensure that the form is witnessed and forwarded to the State Office of Vital Records.

(f) Declarations shall be made available without charge at all district attorney offices, offices of local registrars of births and deaths, courts, and county welfare departments within this state. Staff in these offices shall witness the signatures of parents wishing to sign a voluntary declaration of paternity and shall be responsible for forwarding the signed declaration to the State Office of Vital Records and Statistics.

(g) The district attorney may, at his or her option, pay the sum of ten dollars ($10) to local registrars of birth and deaths, county welfare departments, or courts for each completed declaration of paternity that is witnessed by staff in these offices and filed with the State Office of Vital Records and Statistics. In order to receive payment, the district attorney and the entity shall enter into a written agreement that specifies the terms and conditions for payment as required by federal law. The State Department of Social Services shall study the effect of the ten dollar ($10) payment on obtaining completed voluntary declaration of paternity forms and shall report to the Legislature on any recommendations to change the ten dollar ($10) optional payment, if appropriate, by January 1, 2000.

(h) The State Department of Social Services and district attorneys shall publicize the availability of the declarations. The district attorney shall make the declaration, together with the written materials described in subdivision (a) of Section 7572, available upon request to any parent. The district attorney shall also provide qualified staff to answer parents' questions regarding the declaration and the process of establishing paternity.

(i) Copies of the declaration filed with the State Office of Vital Records and Statistics shall be made available only to the parents, the child, the district attorney, the county welfare department, the county counsel, and the State Department of Social Services.

7572. (a) The State Department of Social Services, in consultation with the State Department of Health Services, the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, and other affected health provider organizations, shall work cooperatively to develop written materials to assist providers and parents in complying with this chapter.

(b) The written materials for parents which shall be attached to the form specified in Section 7574 and provided to unmarried parents shall contain the following information:

(c) Parents shall also be given oral notice of the rights and responsibilities specified in subdivision (b). Oral notice may be accomplished through the use of audio or videotape programs developed by the State Department of Social Services to the extent permitted by federal law.

(d) The State Department of Social Services shall, free of charge, make available to hospitals, clinics, and other places of birth any and all informational and training materials for the program under this chapter, as well as the paternity declaration form. The State Department of Social Services shall make training available to every hospital, clinic, and other place of birth no later than October 31, 1994.

(e) The State Department of Social Services may adopt regulations, including emergency regulations, necessary to implement this chapter.

7573. Except as provided in Sections 7575, 7576, and 7577, a completed voluntary declaration of paternity, as described in Section 7574, that has been filed with the State Office of Vital Records shall establish the paternity of a child and shall have the same force and effect as a judgment for paternity issued by a court of competent jurisdiction. The voluntary declaration of paternity shall be recognized as a basis for the establishment of an order for child custody, visitation, or child support.

7574. (a) The voluntary declaration of paternity shall be executed on a form developed by the State Department of Social Services in consultation with the State Department of Health Services, the California Family Support Council, and child support advocacy groups.

(b) The form described in subdivision (a) shall contain, at a minimum, the following:

7575. (a) Either parent may rescind the voluntary declaration of paternity by filing a rescission form with the State Office of Vital Records within 60 days of the date of execution of the declaration by the attesting father or attesting mother, whichever signature is later, unless a court order for custody, visitation, or child support has been entered in an action in which the signatory seeking to rescind was a party. The State Department of Social Services shall develop a form to be used by parents to rescind the declaration of paternity and instruction on how to complete and file the rescission with the State Office of Vital Records. The form shall include a declaration under penalty of perjury completed by the person filing the rescission form that certifies that a copy of the rescission form was sent by any form of mail requiring a return receipt to the other person who signed the voluntary declaration of paternity. A copy of the return receipt shall be attached to the rescission form when filed with the State Office of Vital Records. The form and instructions shall be written in simple, easy to understand language and shall be made available at the local family support office and the office of local registrar of births and deaths.

(b) (1) Notwithstanding Section 7573, if the court finds that the conclusions of all of the experts based upon the results of the genetic tests performed pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 7550) are that the man who signed the voluntary declaration is not the father of the child, the court may set aside the voluntary declaration of paternity. (2) The notice of motion for genetic tests under this section may be filed not later than two years from the date of the child's birth by either the mother or the man who signed the voluntary declaration as the child's father in an action to determine the existence or nonexistence of the father and child relationship pursuant to Section 7630 or in any action to establish an order for child custody, visitation, or child support based upon the voluntary declaration of paternity. (3) The notice of motion for genetic tests pursuant to this section shall be supported by a declaration under oath submitted by the moving party stating the factual basis for putting the issue of paternity before the court.

(c) (1) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prejudice or bar the rights of either parent to file an action or motion to set aside the voluntary declaration of paternity on any of the grounds described in, and within the time limits specified in, Section 473 of the Code of Civil Procedure and Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 2120) of Part 1 of Division 6. If the action or motion to set aside the voluntary declaration of paternity is for fraud or perjury, the act must have induced the defrauded parent to sign the voluntary declaration of paternity. If the action or motion to set aside a judgment is required to be filed within a specified time period under Section 473 of the Code of Civil Procedure or Section 2122, the period within which the action or motion to set aside the voluntary declaration of paternity must be filed shall commence on the date that the court makes a finding of paternity based upon the voluntary declaration of paternity in an action for custody, visitation, or child support. (2) The parent seeking to set aside the voluntary declaration of paternity shall have the burden of proof. (3) Any order for custody, visitation, or child support shall remain in effect until the court determines that the voluntary declaration of paternity should be set aside, subject to the court's power to modify the orders as otherwise provided by law. (4) Nothing in this section is intended to restrict a court from acting as a court of equity. (5) If the voluntary declaration of paternity is set aside pursuant to paragraph (1), the court shall order that the mother, child, and alleged father submit to genetic tests pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 7550). If the court finds that the conclusions of all the experts, as disclosed by the evidence based upon the genetic tests, are that the person who executed the voluntary declaration of paternity is not the father of the child, the question of paternity shall be resolved accordingly. If the person who executed the declaration as the father of the child is not excluded as a possible father, the question of paternity shall be resolved as otherwise provided by law. If the person who executed the declaration of paternity is ultimately determined to be the father of the child, any child support that accrued under an order based upon the voluntary declaration of paternity shall remain due and owing. (6) The Judicial Council shall develop the forms and procedures necessary to effectuate this subdivision.

7576. The following provisions shall apply for voluntary declarations signed on or before December 31, 1996.

(a) Except as provided in subdivision (d), the child of a woman and a man executing a declaration of paternity under this chapter is conclusively presumed to be the man's child. The presumption under this section has the same force and effect as the presumption under Section 7540.

(b) A voluntary declaration of paternity shall be recognized as the basis for the establishment of an order for child custody or support.

(c) In any action to rebut the presumption created by this section, a voluntary declaration of paternity shall be admissible as evidence to determine paternity of the child named in the voluntary declaration of paternity.

(d) The presumption established by this chapter may be rebutted by any person by requesting blood or genetic tests pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 7550). The notice of motion for blood or genetic tests pursuant to this section shall be supported by a declaration under oath submitted by the moving party stating the factual basis for placing the issue of paternity before the court. The notice of motion for blood tests shall be made within three years from the date of execution of the declaration by the attesting father, or by the attesting mother, whichever signature is later. The two-year statute of limitations specified in subdivision (b) of Section 7541 is inapplicable for purposes of this section.

(e) A presumption under this chapter shall override all statutory presumptions of paternity except a presumption arising under Section 7540 or 7555.

7577. (a) Notwithstanding Section 7573, a voluntary declaration of paternity that is signed by a minor parent or minor parents shall not establish paternity until 60 days after both parents have reached the age of 18 years or are emancipated, whichever first occurs.

(b) A parent who signs a voluntary declaration of paternity when he or she is a minor may rescind the voluntary declaration of paternity at any time up to 60 days after the parent reaches the age of 18 or becomes emancipated whichever first occurs.

(c) A voluntary declaration of paternity signed by a minor creates a rebuttable presumption of paternity until the date that it establishes paternity as specified in subdivision (a).

(d) A voluntary declaration of paternity signed by a minor shall be admissible as evidence in any civil action to establish paternity of the minor named in the voluntary declaration.

(e) A voluntary declaration of paternity that is signed by a minor shall not be admissible as evidence in a criminal prosecution for violation of Section 261.5 of the Penal Code.


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