In designating a de facto parent, the party seeking the status must file
a motion with the court and bear the burden of proving de facto
parenthood by a preponderance of the evidence.92 The court, in
making its determination, may look to a variety of factors related to
the child’s bond with that caretaker.93 Upon a sufficient showing, the
court may then grant the de facto parent standing to participate as a
party in disposition hearings and any hearing thereafter.94 In
addition, the de facto parent has the right to be present at the hearing;
the right to be represented by retained counsel or, at the discretion of
the court, by appointed counsel; and the right to present evidence.95
In re B.G. involved the de facto parents’ standing at the
dispositional hearing, and the California Supreme Court held:
[D]e facto parents . . . should be permitted to appear
as parties in juvenile court proceedings. Their standing
should not depend upon the filing of a petition for
guardianship . . . nor should their participation be
restricted to the limited role of an amicus curiae; they
should be permitted to appear as parties to assert and
protect their interest in the companionship, care,
custody and management of the child.96
In re B.G. involved the question of de facto parents’ standing
specifically at the dispositional hearing, therefore, subsequent courts
indicated.” See CAL. RULES OF CT. R. 1.3. Notably, it was not California’s
legislature but the judicial council, the policymaking body of the California courts,
that adopted the definition of a de facto parent. The judicial council relies on
California’s Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to implement its policies.
92 See In re Patricia L., 11 Cal. Rptr. 2d 631, 635 (Ct. App. 1992) (outlining that
factors for determining whether the person is a de facto parent should include
whether the child is psychologically bonded to the adult, whether the adult
assumed the day-to-day parental role for a substantial period of time, whether the
adult has unique knowledge about the child, whether the adult regularly attended
court hearings, and whether a juvenile court order would permanently foreclose
contact between the adult and child).
94 See CAL. RULES OF CT. R. 5.534(e).
95 See id.
96 See In re B.G., 523 P.2d 244, 254 (Cal. 1974).