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Oral Argument Before the Hawaii Supreme Court — No. SCAP-16-0000837

No. SCAP-16-0000837, Thursday, December 14, 2017, 10 a.m.

CC, Petitioner-Appellant, vs. DD and CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT AGENCY, STATE OF HAWAIʻI, Defendants-Appellees.  

The above-captioned case was set for argument on the merits at:

Castle Performing Arts Center
Ronald E. Bright Theatre 
45-386 Kaneohe Bay Drive 
Kaneohe, HI 96744

Attorney for Petitioner-Appellant CC:

Rebecca A. Copeland

Attorney for Defendant-Appellee DD:

Christopher D. Thomas and Pro Hac Vice, Peter C. Renn

Attorney for Amicus Curiae State of Hawaiʻi:

Clyde J. Wadsworth, Solicitor General

NOTE: Order granting Application for Transfer, filed 09/05/17.

NOTE: Order granting Amicus Curiae State of Hawaii’s motion for leave to participate in oral argument, filed 10/10/17.
COURT: MER, C.J., PAN, SSM, RWP, and MDW, JJ.

[ Listen to the entire audio recording in mp3 format ]

Brief Description:

This is a parentage case.  The sole issue is whether a legal parent-child relationship exists between Petitioner-Appellant CC and the child of CC’s former wife, Defendant-Appellee DD.
In 2013, CC and DD, a same-sex couple, were legally married in the District of Columbia.  They later moved to Hawaiʻi when CC, a member of the military, was assigned here due to military orders.  Throughout the marriage, CC and DD discussed the possibility of having a child together.  While CC was deployed between January and September 2015, DD was impregnated through the use of a sperm donor.  In October 2015, CC filed for divorce.  While divorce proceedings were pending, DD gave birth to the child.

In the Family Court of the First Circuit (family court), CC filed a petition to disestablish parentage of the child.  The family court denied CC’s petition because it found that Hawaii’s Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) and Marriage Equality Act presumes that a legal spouse of a woman who gives birth to a child is the parent of that child, regardless of the spouse’s gender.  The family court then found that CC could not rebut the presumption of parentage by clear and convincing evidence.  CC appealed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals, and thereafter applied for a transfer of her appeal to this court, which was granted.

CC raises two points of error on appeal:  first, the family court erred in finding that the UPA applies to CC; and second, even if the UPA does apply to CC, the family court erred in finding that CC did not rebut the presumption of parentage.