You may recall the highly-publicized case of Jason Patric and his quest to become the legal father of his son Gus, in which we obtained a landmark Court of Appeal decision in 2014 declaring that Jason, and any other man who provided sperm to a physician to inseminate a woman other than his wife, could make a claim of parentage based on his relationship with the child. That decision, known as Jason P. v. Danielle S. 226 Cal. App. 4th 167 held that a man who would otherwise have been legally defined as a sperm donor and precluded from seeking parentage, should be treated in law as any other man who might hold a child out as his own, and receive the child into his home. The court held that if a man met those requirements and had a “familial relationship” with the child, he could establish parentage.
The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court that had barred Jason from seeking parentage of his son, and the matter was sent back to the trial court for a trial on whether Jason could meet the legal requirements. We prevailed on behalf of Jason in the trial court and he was declared to be the legal father of Gus. Unfortunately, however, that did not put an end to his multi-years long legal battle. Gus’ mother appealed the trial court’s ruling on both parentage and custody. Fortunately for Jason, and for Gus, last month the Second District Court of Appeal issued yet another published decision upholding the trial court’s finding that Jason is his son’s legal father. In Jason P. v. Danielle S. (Jason P. II), 9 Cal. App. 5th 1000, the Court of Appeal rejected mother’s multiple arguments as to why Jason should not be permitted to maintain legal fatherhood. This included the assertion that the trial court determined parentage based on Jason’s biological connection to Gus, a claim that there was insufficient evidence of Jason having received Gus into his home because he did so in his New York apartment and not his Santa Monica residence, that Jason did not hold Gus out as his son in a sufficient basis, and that his initial rejection of a parental relationship prevented him from seeking parentage later as it unduly infringed on Danielle’s right to be a single parent. Each of these arguments was rejected by the Court of Appeal, as was Danielle’s argument that the trial court improperly considered Danielle’s conduct encouraging the relationship between Jason and Gus.
Hopefully, with the Court of Appeal decision, the ongoing litigation over Jason’s parental status will now draw to a close. While the time has not yet run for Danielle to petition the California Supreme Court to reverse the decision, we certainly hope that she will finally allow this matter to come to a close and that the parties can finally jointly parent their child. Congratulations again to Jason for his tenacity and standing up for his right to parent his son.