In some cases, where a biological parent has no interest in a relationship with his or her child, a step-parent married to the child’s biological parent may be found to be a “de facto” parent by the court, because he or she has a significant relationship with the child, has raised the child and held the child out to be his or her own. In some cases, usually involving dependency court (CPS cases), this de facto parent may be established, in the long run, as the child’s presumed parent. The ultimate conclusion of this scenario may include adoption.
Legally establishing paternity of a child, or having the court find that a father is not the biological father of a child can have a significant impact on divorce settlements, property division, child custody, child support, or the ability of a custodial parent to move out-of-state. Determination of paternity can also have a significant impact on interstate jurisdictional conflicts.