In re Marriage of Buzzanca Case Brief

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					In re Marriage of Buzzanca 61 Cal.Appp.4th 1410, 72 Cal.Rptr.2d 280 (1998)
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Luanne and John Buzzanca wanted a child. They got a fertilized embryo unrelated to either of them and had it implanted in a surrogate. o They were trying to get a child with perfect DNA. After the pregnancy started, the Buzzanca divorced. o Luanne claimed that the she and John were the lawful parents. o John disclaimed any responsibility. o The surrogate disclaimed any responsibility. The Trial Court determined that the baby had no lawful parents! o The Trial Court found that the surrogate was not the parent because she was simply providing a service to the Buzzancas. Neither were the donors. o The Trial Court found that neither Buzzanca was the parent since neither of them had any biological relationship to the baby.  Luanne didn't provide an egg, genetic material, or give birth. o The Trial Court found that the child was a "legal orphan." The Appellate Court reversed and found the baby to be the legal child of Luanne and John. o The Appellate Court noted that there are instances where a non-biological father can be held to be the legal father of a child.  When a husband consents to the wife's artificial insemination (due to infertility issues), he is the legal father even though there is no biological relationship.  Similarly, both Buzzancas consented to the creation of the baby, so they are the legal parents. o Under the Uniform Parentage Act, there are a number of ways paternity can be established other than biology, including:

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The parents were married at the time of birth. Consenting to be named the father on the child's birth certificate. The Appellate Court felt that there decision was a stop-gap measure and made an open request to the Legislature to say something conclusive about this issue. This case established the concept of parentage by consent. o The question is still open as to whether this decision would allow the child to inherit from the Buzzancas, or if it is just applicable to custody and support. o Uniform Parentage Act § 707 specifically says that if you agree to have a child by assisted reproduction, but die before placement, any child that eventually results from your agreement cannot inherit as your heir (unless you specifically say so in writing).

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