Man Denied Visitation Rights To Girl He Claims As Daughter
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An unmarried man cannot have visitation rights to a 5-year-old girl he calls his daughter, despite evidence he fathered the child with a married woman who has since reconciled with her husband, a state appeals court ruled.
″The state’s interest in preserving the integrity of the matrimonial family is so significant that it outweighs most other interests,″ a three- judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled Thursday.
The judges agreed that Michael Hirschensohn proved he had had an affair with the mother, Carole Singleton, at the time Victoria Dearing was conceived, and later lived with the woman for a time.
But in his claim to fatherhood, they said, he failed to overcome the state’s presumption that a child’s father is the husband of his or her mother, even though blood tests indicated there was a 98 percent chance he was the father.
The judges said evidence such as a blood test can be used to disprove a husband’s presumed fatherhood only if the biological father and mother approach the court together.
Ms. Singleton had blocked Hirschensohn’s effort to be declared Victoria’s father. After living with Hirschensohn for a time in 1982 and again in 1984, she reconciled with her husband, Gerald Dearing. They have an infant son who lives with them and Victoria.
The court also said that visits by Hirschensohn would be detrimental to Victoria’s best interests because of the ″confusion, uncertainty, and embarrassment″ the visits would cause her.