- Whether the child has psychologically bonded with the applicant
- Whether the applicant has acted as a parent on a day to day basis for a substantial amount of time. (Note: There is no clear requirement of a minimum amount of time, however adoption practices have established a four month period as a guide for establishing parental bonds that should not be disrupted
- Whether the applicant has information about the child that the other parties in the case cannot provide
- Whether the applicant has regularly attended juvenile court hearings
- See California Rule of Court 5.502(10) for the Court’s definition of De facto Parent
Why de Facto?
Upon a sufficient showing the court may recognize the child’s present or previous custodians as de facto parents and grant standing to participate as parties in disposition hearings and any hearing thereafter at which the status of the dependent child is at issue.
In order to apply for de Facto status, you must complete and file FOUR separate court forms.
- JV 295 de Facto Parent Request Form
- JV 296 de Facto Parent Statement Form
- JV 297 de Facto Parent Order
- JV 510 Proof of Service Form
» ATTENTION: Some counties in California do not require De Facto Parent Status applicants to file the JV 510 and serve copies of the request forms on all the parties to the case. Some counties have local rules directing the clerk of their Juvenile Court to serve copies of the JV-295, JV-296, and JV-297 De Facto Parent request forms on all the parties to the case, and some counties have a a courtesy policy and the clerk will serve the parties for you. Call your local Court Clerk’s Office for more information about the policies in your county. Visit http://www.courts.ca.gov/find-my-court.htm to find contact information for your local Clerk’s Office.
These forms and supporting documentation can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
How Do You Qualify?
A de Facto parent is a person who is the current or recent caretaker of a child, and who has assumed the role of a parent to a child, fulfilling the child’s physical and psychological need for care and affection on a daily basis. Relevant factors include:
Rights of De Facto Parents
The California Rule of Court 5.534(e) states that upon a sufficient showing the court may recognize the child's present or previous custodians as de facto parents and grant standing to participate as parties in disposition hearings and any hearing thereafter at which the status of the dependent child is at issue. The de facto parent may:
- Be present at the hearing
- Be represented by retained counsel or, at the discretion of the court, by appointed counsel
- Present evidence
Discovery is the legal right to see the reports and documents that have been filed with the court, i.e., to discover what is in the court’s file. A de facto parent's right to see the other documents in the court file is governed by WIC§ 827 which directs the court to make such discovery orders pursuant to that section as are necessary and appropriate. The court may allow you to have full or limited access to the court file contents, as deemed necessary for meaningful participation in the case.
Appointment of an Attorney
Upon granting de Facto parent status, the court may, but is not required by law to, appoint an attorney to represent the de facto parent. No right to the appointment of counsel exists for the bringing of the application. If you cannot afford an attorney, ask the court to consider appointing one for you.
De Facto Parent Forms and Supporting Documentation
- JV 295 de Facto Parent Request form
- JV 295 de Facto Parent Request form (fillable)
- JV 295 guidelines and instructions
- JV 295 sample filled-out form
- JV 296 de Facto Parent Statement form
- JV 296 de Facto Parent Statement form (fillable)
- JV 296 guidelines and instructions
- JV 296 sample filled-out form
- JV 297 de Facto Parent Order
- JV 297 de Facto Parent Order (fillable)
- JV 297 Guidelines and Instructions
- JV 510 Proof of Service form
- JV 510 Proof of Service form (fillable form)
- JV 510 guidelines and instructions
- Instructions for Serving and Filing Your Forms JV 295, JV 296 & JV 297
- MC-030 Declaration Fillable form
Use Form JV-287 to keep contact information confidential.
JV-287 may be used with JV-295.
To support your application for De Facto Parent Status, you can print out the following brief and attach it to your application.
» ATTENTION: Since there are no specific laws or state regulations that set out specific requirements for de facto parent status, this document contains the case law which can assist the judge with making an informed ruling on a de facto parent request.
- Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Application for De Facto Parent Status (6-pg pdf)
NOTE: You can use a legal device called a "declaration" to provide the court with information from third parties that may help support your de facto parent status request. A declaration is a written statement, sworn to be the truth under penalty of perjury by any person who has direct knowledge about your relationship with the child. If you have letters or declarations from third parties that you are attaching to your JV-296 "De Facto Parent Statement" form, be sure and label each attachment page ""Attachment to JV 296, Date, Case Number".
Open or download the fillable (PDF) Declaration form here ».
Sample Supporting Brief
To inform the Court of the reasons to award De Facto Parent Status, you can print out this general brief and attach it to your application.
Sample Cover Letter
For more De Facto Parent Information and Resources, please visit the California Courts de Facto Self-Help Center.
>> Need help with PDF Files? Click here
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