(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Legislation introduced by adoptive father and advocate Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) clarifying issues impacting the adoption community was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown Tuesday. This is the third bill turned law carried by Patterson in as many years and represents his dedication to making it easier for California families to adopt.
Assembly Bill 1049 preserves a courts ability to weigh all facts in a case involving the termination of parental rights. It overturns a discriminatory court decision and upholds 20 years of adoption law to ensure that a birth mother is supported by a presumed father. This law clarifies a judges ability to consider an offer or refusal to sign a voluntary declaration of paternity as a factor in establishing or terminating parental rights, but that such an offer cannot be the sole basis for determining parentage.
“This bill protects the integrity of the process for voluntarily establishing paternity in this state. By requiring the signature of both parents on a voluntary declaration of paternity, AB1049 ensures that all interested persons - birth mothers, birth fathers, extended family members, adoption agencies, attorneys and prospective adoptive parents - can know with greater certainty their legal rights,” said American Academy of Adoption Attorneys Fellow Allison Foster Davis.
Financial crimes committed against women who donate their eggs are also remedied with AB 1049. Existing law requires parents working with a surrogate mother to deposit funds for health care expenses in an independent, bonded escrow account or a trust account maintained by an attorney but there is no law impacting egg donors. AB 1049 requires funds for payment of all medical and other expenses incurred by egg donors to be put into an escrow account.
“This bill simplifies the process for loving California parents who are trying desperately to grow their families and it also helps protect women who are giving the gift of life to others,” Assemblyman Jim Patterson said. “My wife and I have struggled to navigate through the adoption process, and that makes this effort personal for us.”
Having adopted three children through international, private and county adoptions, Assemblyman Patterson and his family are passionate advocates for adoption. He is determined to promote adoption during his service in the Legislature and has successfully worked with the adoption community to get laws passed every year he’s been in office.
Past adoption legislation includes AB 1701, which protects babies abandoned by birth parents during the adoption process, and AB 848, which clarified the grounds for obtaining an abbreviated home study.
Assemblyman Patterson (R-Fresno) represents the 23rd Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes communities in Fresno and Tulare County.