California Court of Appeals, Second District, First Division
Cal.Rptr.3d 567] APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court
of Los Angeles County, Armando Duron, Judge. Reversed. (Los
Angeles County Super. Ct. No. BZ175229)
Dean Schneider, Los Angeles, for Appellant Jennifer D.
appearance for Plaintiff and Respondent County of Los
appearance for Defendant and Respondent Christopher W.
appearance for Defendant and Respondent Colin K.
Christopher W. is the biological father of M.D. The mother of
M.D. is Jennifer D. (Mother). Christopher and Mother never
married and their personal relationship ended soon after
Mother became pregnant with M.D. While Mother was pregnant,
she began a dating relationship with Colin K. After M.D. was
born, Colin posted pictures of himself with M.D. on his page
on the Internet Website Facebook, along with messages
implying that he is M.D.’s father. When M.D. was two years
old, Colin moved in with Mother and M.D.
County of Los Angeles (the County), acting through its Child
Support Services Department, commenced an action against
Christopher to establish his paternity and his obligation to
provide child support for M.D. (Fam. Code, � � 17400,
17404.) Christopher successfully moved to join
Colin as a party in the action and asserted that Colin, not
he, is M.D.’s father, pursuant to section 7611, subdivision
(d). The County, Mother, and Colin disagreed.
an evidentiary hearing, the court determined that Colin is
M.D.’s father, and Christopher is not. After the entry of
judgment, Mother appealed. For the reasons discussed below,
we reverse the judgment.
and Christopher had a relationship that ended in 2013. About
two months later, Mother informed Christopher that she was
pregnant and that he was the father. They were never married
and never lived together.
December 2013, while Mother was pregnant, Mother and Colin
began dating. Mother was then living alone in a condominium.
[254 Cal.Rptr.3d 568] Colin lived and worked as a supervisor
in a sober living house where visitors (including Mother)
were not allowed. In light of their relationship and Mother’s
pregnancy, some people teased Colin about becoming "a
was born in May 2014. Christopher went to the hospital on the
day M.D. was born and held him briefly. While Christopher was
at the hospital, he saw a sign that read "Congrats Colin
& Jennifer." Mother asked Christopher if he was going to
sign M.D.’s birth certificate, and he said he would not. The
birth certificate does not identify anyone as M.D.’s father.
spent time with Mother at the hospital before and after
M.D.’s birth, and drove her and M.D. to Mother’s home when
they left the hospital. During the first two years of M.D.’s
life, Colin visited Mother about once a week for about an
hour and a half. Colin never stayed with Mother overnight
during that time.
Christopher interacted with M.D. three times. The first was
when he held M.D. in the hospital on the day he was born. The
second time occurred in a restaurant shortly after M.D.’s
birth. The third time took place in late 2014 or early 2015,
when he spent about an hour with M.D. while Mother and Colin
went out to dinner. Mother eventually told Christopher that
she did not want him to be involved in M.D.’s life and, ...