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Burchard v. Garay

Supreme Court of California
724 P.2d 486 (Cal. 1986)


After a brief relationship, Ana Marie Burchard (plaintiff) and William Garay (defendant) had a son. Later, Burchard filed a paternity action and a child-support action against Garay. Court-ordered blood tests confirmed Garay to be the child’s father. Garay stipulated to paternity and agreed to pay child support, which the trial court approved. When Garay asked Burchard for visitation rights, Burchard refused and filed a petition seeking exclusive custody of the child. Garay counter-petitioned, also seeking exclusive custody. Prior to the hearing, Burchard and Garay agreed that Burchard would retain custody, with Garay having two full days of visitation each week. At the hearing, the trial court awarded custody of the child to Garay based upon three factors, namely that (1) Garay was financially better off and better equipped economically to care for his son; (2) Garay was married to a woman who could provide constant care for the child as a stepmother, while Burchard had to rely on daycare centers and babysitters; and (3) Garay would willingly permit visitation rights, unlike Burchard. Burchard appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Broussard, J.)

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Concurrence (Bird, C.J.)

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