T and C met in 1991, but they did not begin a sexual relationship until
2005. Prior to 2005, C had a vasectomy.
Shortly after beginning their sexual relationship, T and C discussed having
a child together. C agreed to have sperm extracted and in time, T became
pregnant. She also paid for all costs for the fertilization process.
In 2008, T had a son (S) and C was present during the delivery. After leaving
the hospital, C spent two to four nights a week with T and their son at
T’s home. (C was a pilot, and T thought C was out of town when he
wasn’t spending the night with her and S.)
C was married with two children during his entire relationship with T,
and when he wasn’t with T and S, he was with his wife and other
two children. T knew of his marriage, but believed that C and his wife
were separated. C identified himself to T’s family and friends as
S’s father and was called “Daddy” by S.
Although C never paid child support for S, he did provide T with a new
car after S’s birth and groceries and provided S with gifts. He
also paid T $500 per month to rent garage space for his car, according
to him. He also paid portions of T’s mortgage during 2009. C kept
up his duo relationships for the next two and one years, until 2010, when
he cut off all contact with T and S. He had never told his friends or
family of S, nor did he include S on his insurance policies or C’s
In 2014, the County of Orange filed a complaint against C asking that he
be declared S’s father, be ordered to pay child support. C denied
that he was S’s biological father.
The court found C to be both S’s presumed father under Family Code
Section 7611d,even if he were merely a sperm donor and not legally responsible
for S under Family Code Section 7613. The court stated: “The facts
in this case involving [C] and [S] are unique because it is absolutely
clear that [C] wanted a child with [T]. He was not a mere bystander and
donor. He underwent a medical procedure for the specific purpose of retrieving
viable semen in order to impregnate [T]. This had been discussed thoroughly
between the two of them…”
C appealed, and the Appellate Court agreed with the trial court.
Section 7611d states: “A person is presumed to be the natural parent
of a child if … [t]he presumed parent receives the child into his
or her home and openly holds out the child as his or her natural child.”
The trial court found that C did hold himself out openly to be S’s
father.” The Appellate Court agreed that C’s involvement with
S were sufficient for presumed fatherhood.
However, C argued that under Section 7613, he could not be held responsible
because he was merely a sperm donor. Both the trial court and the Appellate
Court did not agree that C was merely a sperm donor, because of his desire
to have a child with T and the procedures he went through to ensure success,
versus the usual sperm donor who merely supplies a sperm sample.