Kourtney Kardashian Paternity Suit: Discussion Regarding Paternity

Reality stars Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick are the parents of two children, Mason and Penelope. However, in August 2013, Michael Girgenti, filed a suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court contending that he, not Scott Disick, was actually the father of Kourtney Kardashian’s oldest child, Mason. Scott and Kourtney have always held Scott out as Mason’s Father. Nonetheless, Girgenti requested joint custody as well as DNA testing for Kourtney, Scott, Mason and himself. The results of the DNA testing ultimately proved that Girgenti was not Mason’s biological father and confirmed that Scott was his biological father. However, Girgenti’s claims and paternity suit certainly created havoc in Kourtney and Scott’s lives and could have affected Mason had the results been different. How can someone suddenly claim they are a child’s father when the child has known another father for the first three years of his life?

In the case of Kardashian and Disick, since they are not married, according to California law, Scott is not automatically presumed to be Mason’s father. In California, only the child of a married couple is conclusively presumed to be a child of the marriage. That presumption can only be rebutted in specific situations. However, Scott likely qualifies as the presumed father in that he received the child into his home and openly held Mason out as his own child. That presumption may be rebutted by a judgment establishing paternity of another man, though, which is presumably what Michael Girgenti was trying to do. The reason Girgenti was able to file such a motion more than three years after Mason was born is because California law provides that “any interested party may bring an action at any time for the purpose of determining the existence or nonexistence of the father and child relationship” in a situation similar to Kardashian and Disick’s. California Family Code Section 7630. What Girgenti didn’t likely realize is that even if it had been found that he was the biological father of Mason, since he had no relationship with Mason, Scott may have been confirmed as Mason’s presumed Father anyway. This is because there can only be one presumed father, and the state has an interest in protecting a developed family relationship, notwithstanding biological ties. Further, there is a strong argument that it would not be in Mason’s best interests to proclaim that the only father he has even known is no longer his father and grant that status to someone Mason had never even met.

The ins and outs of establishing paternity can be confusing and there are specific time limits for contesting and/or establishing paternity, depending on the situation. If you are facing a paternity issue, whether you have been named as a parent and believe you are not the parent of the child, or whether you are trying to establish that you are the parent of a child, contact us at (408) 288-7800 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Mello & Pickering, LLP, can help you understand your rights and help you navigate the legal process. a

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