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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 15C: Parentage Proceedings

Chapter 005: DE FACTO PARENTAGE

  • § 501. Standard; adjudication

    (a)(1) In a proceeding to adjudicate the parentage of a person who claims to be a de facto parent of the child, if there is only one other person who is a parent or has a claim to parentage of the child, the court shall adjudicate the person who claims to be a de facto parent to be a parent of the child if the person demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that:

    (A) the person resided with the child as a regular member of the child's household for a significant period of time;

    (B) the person engaged in consistent caretaking of the child;

    (C) the person undertook full and permanent responsibilities of a parent of the child without expectation of financial compensation;

    (D) the person held out the child as the person's child;

    (E) the person established a bonded and dependent relationship with the child that is parental in nature;

    (F) the person and another parent of the child fostered or supported the bonded and dependent relationship required under subdivision (E) of this subdivision (1); and

    (G) continuing the relationship between the person and the child is in the best interests of the child.

    (2) A parent of the child may use evidence of duress, coercion, or threat of harm to contest an allegation that the parent fostered or supported a bonded and dependent relationship as provided in subdivision (1)(F) of this subsection. Such evidence may include whether within the prior ten years, the person seeking to be adjudicated a de facto parent has been convicted of domestic assault, sexual assault, or sexual exploitation of the child or another parent of the child, was subject to a final abuse protection order pursuant to 15 V.S.A. chapter 21 because the person was found to have committed abuse against the child or another parent of the child, or was substantiated for abuse against the child or another parent of the child pursuant to 33 V.S.A. chapter 49 or 33 V.S.A. chapter 69.

    (b) In a proceeding to adjudicate the parentage of a person who claims to be a de facto parent of the child, if there is more than one other person who is a parent or has a claim to parentage of the child and the court determines that the requirements of subsection (a) of this section are met by clear and convincing evidence, the court shall adjudicate parentage under section 206 of this title, subject to other applicable limitations in this title.

    (c) The adjudication of a person as a de facto parent under this chapter does not disestablish the parentage of any other parent. (Added 2017, No. 162 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

  • § 502. Standing; petition

    (a) A person seeking to be adjudicated a de facto parent of a child shall file a petition with the Family Division of the Superior Court before the child reaches 18 years of age. Both the person seeking to be adjudicated a de facto parent and the child must be alive at the time of the filing. The petition shall include a verified affidavit alleging facts to support the existence of a de facto parent relationship with the child. The petition and affidavit shall be served on all parents and legal guardians of the child and any other party to the proceeding.

    (b) An adverse party, parent, or legal guardian may file a pleading and verified affidavit in response to the petition that shall be served on all parties to the proceeding.

    (c) The court shall determine on the basis of the pleadings and affidavits whether the person seeking to be adjudicated a de facto parent has presented prima facie evidence of the criteria for de facto parentage as provided in subsection 501(a) of this title and, therefore, has standing to proceed with a parentage action. The court, in its sole discretion, may hold a hearing to determine disputed facts that are necessary and material to the issue of standing.

    (d) The court may enter an interim order concerning contact between the child and a person with standing seeking adjudication under this chapter as a de facto parent of the child. (Added 2017, No. 162 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)