TN 47 (05-16)

PR 01115.014 Hawaii

A. PR 06–082 Establishing Parent-Child Relationship under Hawaii Law

Date: February 10, 2016

1. Syllabus

NH was domiciled in Hawaii at the time Claimant filed her application for benefits, therefore we look to the Hawaii Intestacy to determine the parent-child relationship. Hawaii’s Uniform Probate Code (UPC) provides that children may inherit intestate from their parents, regardless of the parents’ marital status. In addition, the parent- child relationship may also be established under Hawaii’s Uniform Parentage Act (UPA). In this case, the Claimant is entitled to child’s insurance benefits on the NH’s account because a parent-child relationship existed under Hawaii law. The NH is the Claimant’s natural parent and could inherit intestate from the NH. As the NH’s natural child, the Claimant is deemed dependent on NH, therefore, the Claimant is entitled to child’s insurance benefits on the NH’s account under section 216(h)(2) of the Act.

2. Opinion

QUESTION

You asked whether a parent-child relationship exists between Claimant, J~, and the Number Holder (NH), D~, for purposes of establishing Claimant’s entitlement to child’s insurance benefits on NH’s account?1

SHORT ANSWER

Yes. Claimant is entitled to child’s insurance benefits on NH’s account because a parent-child relationship existed under Hawaii law. NH received Claimant into her home and openly held Claimant out as her child.

SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE

NH and her wife, T~ (T~), provided the following information in statements dated February 14, 2014 and July 28, 2014:

  • NH and T~ entered into a relationship in 1998.

  • T~ changed her last name from T~ to Q~ in 1999.

  • The family currently resides in Hawaii.

  • With respect to her involvement in Claimant’s life, NH reported that:

    • She was present in the delivery room at Claimant’s birth and has provided her with emotional support since birth.

    • She attends Claimant’s school and sporting events.

    • Teachers and coaches regard her as Claimant’s parent.

    • Her community regards her as Claimant’s mother, and Claimant as her child.

    • She is Claimant’s emergency contact person in the event that T~ is not available.

    • Since 2013, she has contributed to Claimant’s food and clothing expenses.

    • Since 2013, she has attended Claimant’s parent-teacher conferences and made decisions regarding Claimant’s education and medical care.

    • Since October 2013, she has resided with Claimant and T~.

Documentary evidence establishes the following facts:

  • Claimant was born on January XX, 20XX. Her Nevada birth certificate lists Q~ as her last name, and T~ as her mother. The birth certificate does not provide a name for Claimant’s father or any second parent.

  • NH and T~ were married in British Colombia, Canada on July XX, 2006.

  • NH and T~ were married in Hawaii on December XX, 2013.

  • NH named Claimant as a dependent on her 2013 federal tax return.

  • NH and T~ amended their rental agreement to reflect tenancy by NH, T~, and Claimant, on May XX, 2014.

LEGAL STANDARDS

Federal Law

Under the Social Security Act (Act), every unmarried minor child of an insured individual who is entitled to old-age or disability insurance benefits is entitled to child’s insurance benefits. Social Security Act § 202(d)(1); 42 U.S.C. § 402(d)(1). To receive child’s insurance benefits, however, the applicant must qualify as the insured individual’s “child,” as defined by section 216(e), and be dependent on the insured individual at the time she filed her application. See id.; 20 C.F.R. § 404.350.

In determining whether a claimant qualifies as the child of the insured individual, the Commissioner applies the law governing the devolution of intestate personal property by the courts of the State in which such insured individual was domiciled at the time of application. Social Security Act § 216(h)(2)(A), 42 U.S.C. § 416(h)(2)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.355(a)(1). An applicant who satisfies the requirements of section 216(h)(2)(A) of the Act is also deemed dependent upon the insured individual. 20 C.F.R. § 404.361(a) (“If you are the insured’s natural child, as defined in § 404.355, you are considered dependent upon him or her”);2 Social Security Ruling (SSR) 77-2c (“where state intestacy law provides that a child may take personal property from a father’s estate, it may reasonably be thought that the child will more likely be dependent during the parent’s life...”).

NH was domiciled in Hawaii at the time Claimant filed her application for benefits. Accordingly, Hawaii intestacy law determines Claimant’s relationship with NH, and thus, her entitlement to child’s insurance benefits.

Hawaii Law

Hawaii’s Uniform Probate Code (UPC) provides that children may inherit intestate from their parents, regardless of the parents’ marital status. See Haw. Rev. Stat. § 560:2-114. The UPC also provides that the parent and child relationship may be established under Hawaii’s Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) (Hawaii Revised Statutes, chapter 584). Id.

Pursuant to Hawaii’s UPA, a man is presumed to be the natural father3 of a child if he “receives the minor child into his home and openly holds out the child as his natural child.” Haw. Rev. Stat. § 584-4(a)(4). The UPA extends this presumption to determining the existence of a mother and child relationship. See Haw. Rev. Stat. § 584-21 (“Any interested party may bring an action to determine the existence or nonexistence of a mother and child relationship. Insofar as practicable, the provisions of this chapter applicable to the father and child relationship shall apply.”); see also Child Support Enforcement Agency v. Doe, 125 P. 3d 461, 471 (Haw. 2005) (by enacting section 584-21, “the legislature has ensured that mothers will be subject to the same enforcement procedures and statutory privileges applied to fathers”).

Public Policy

In Doe v. Doe, the Hawaii Supreme Court held that the “fundamental purpose” of chapter 584 is to “protect the rights and ensure the obligations of parents of children born out of wedlock.” Doe v. Doe, 52 P. 3d 255, 261-62 (Haw. 2002) (internal citation omitted). Thus, the Court explained that “the UPA and, by extension, chapter 584 are largely concerned with establishing a means by which to identify the person (usually the father) against whom these rights may be asserted. In short, it is to ensure that every child, to the extent possible, has an identifiable legal father.” Id. (internal citation omitted) (emphasis added). The Court specifically identified the right to intestate succession as one which chapter 584 intended to provide and determined that the purpose of the UPA is to establish a second legal parent to whom the child may turn for inheritance and support. Id.

“Holding Out”

In Inoue v. Inoue, the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals applied section 584-4(a)(4) to determine that a wife was estopped from challenging her husband’s status as the child’s presumed father, even though he was not the biological father. 185 P. 3d 834, 842 (Haw. Ct. App. 2008). In that case, the presumed father attended prenatal appointments with the mother, assumed primary child care responsibilities after the mother returned to work, lived with the child from the time of birth, participated in the child’s medical care, established an education account for the child, and held the child out to his family as his own. Id. at 836-37.4 Based on these facts, the Court concluded that the presumed father “held out” the child as his own, as defined in section 584-4(a)(4). Id. at 842.

Here, NH’s relationship with Claimant is supported by different facts than in Inoue. The Inoue court was concerned with presumed parenthood only to the extent that it strengthened the argument in favor of estoppel, and concluded without analysis that there was evidence of “holding out.” Id. at 842. Thus, Inoue should not be interpreted as establishing the minimum showing for presumed parenthood under section 584-4(a)(4). We are not aware of any Hawaii case in which a court has evaluated what threshold degree of evidence would constitute “openly hold[ing] out the child as [a] natural child” for purposes of presumed parenthood.

However, in California, another state that has adopted the UPA, courts have articulated several factors guiding a determination of presumed parentage based on “holding out.” California’s “holding out” provision and public policy mirror that of Hawaii.5 Therefore, it is reasonable for us to believe that a Hawaii court would look to California case law for guidance.

In Charisma R., the California Court of Appeal found a presumption of parentage even though the petitioner had only lived with and shared in the child’s care for about three months. Id. at 366-67, 374. The Court found petitioner to be the presumed mother because she was present at the child’s birth, gave the child a hyphenated last name that included her name, and she held herself out as the child’s parent in public announcements. Id.

Similarly, in S.Y. v. S.B., 201 Cal. App. 4th 1023 (Cal. Ct. App. 2011), the California Court of Appeal upheld the finding of presumed parentage of S.Y., where S.Y. encouraged S.B. to adopt a child with the understanding they would raise the child together; S.Y. voluntarily accepted the rights and obligations of parenthood after the child was born; and no other person claimed to be the child’s second parent. Id. at 1037. Additionally, in E.C. v. J.V., 202 Cal. App. 4th 1076 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012), the California Court of Appeal stressed that, in determining presumed parentage, the State looks at the presumed parent’s commitment to the child’s well-being, as opposed to the presumed parent’s relationship with the biological mother. Id. at 1085.

ANALYSIS

NH and T~ were married in Canada in July 2006, and remarried in Hawaii in December 2013.6 NH was present at Claimant’s birth, NH shares a surname with Claimant, and NH reported providing emotional support to Claimant since her birth. For instance, NH only began contributing to Claimant’s financial support in 2013. NH listed Claimant as her dependent on her federal tax return for tax year 2013. Furthermore, in 2013, NH began attending Claimant’s parent-teacher conferences and began participating in decisions regarding Claimant’s education and medical care.

Of even greater significance, NH began living with Claimant in October 2013. Therefore, a Hawaii court would likely find that NH “received” Claimant into her home, and “openly held” Claimant out as her child.

Finally, finding NH to be Claimant’s presumed parent is consistent with Hawaii’s public policy. The facts do not indicate that any other individual has taken an active role as Claimant’s second parent. Therefore, Hawaii public policy favors a determination that a parent-child relationship exists between Claimant and NH, as this result ensures that Claimant has the benefit of two parents committed to her welfare. See Doe, 52 P. 3d at 261-62.

CONCLUSION

Under Hawaii law, NH is Claimant’s natural parent and Claimant could inherit intestate from her. As the NH’s natural child, Claimant is deemed dependent on her. Claimant is therefore entitled to child’s insurance benefits on NH’s account under section 216(h)(2) of the Act.

B. PR 04-103 Claim for Child's Insurance Benefits on Account of Thomas F~, Deceased Wage Earner, SSN ~

DATE: May 20, 2002

1. SYLLABUS

The child claimant was declared to be the NH's natural child by a State court of Hawaii in a judgment of paternity issued more than 3 years after the child's birth. The court judgment appears to meet the requirements for SSA to accept a State court determination of paternity in SSR 83-37. Therefore, the claimant is considered the NH's child under Hawaii intestacy law.

2. OPINION

QUESTION

You asked whether the claimant, Daryl C. E. F~ ("the claimant"), who was declared to be the legal child of the deceased wage earner by a court action commenced more than three years after the wage earner's death, can qualify for child's insurance benefits on the wage earner's earnings record.

ANSWER

Yes, the claimant must be considered the natural child of the wage earner for purposes of his claim for benefits on the wage earner's record.

SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE

The wage earner died in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 7, 1994, while domiciled in Hawaii. The claimant was born on December 3, 1987, in Caloocan City, Philippines. The wage earner was listed on his birth certificate (late-registered in 1996) and baptismal certificate (executed one year after claimant's birth) as the natural father. The wage earner never executed a writing acknowledging the claimant as his natural child.

A paternity action was filed on February 26, 1999, in the Family Court of the First Circuit, State of Hawaii, in cause number FC-P No. 99-00259, entitled "Daryl Christian Eusebio F~, Petitioner, vs. Thomas Itaru F~, deceased, by and through Wanda Y. F~ as Personal Representative of the Estate, et al." A judgment of paternity was issued in this case on June 19, 2000, recognizing the wage earner as the father of the claimant. The court declared the evidence of paternity to be clear and convincing, citing DNA test results from a court-appointed diagnostic laboratory.

ANALYSIS

In order to receive child's insurance benefits, an individual must be the dependent child of the wage earner. 42 U.S.C. ' 402(d). A natural child normally is deemed to have been dependent on his father for purposes of a claim in benefits. 20 C.F.R. ' 404.361(a) (2001). A child will be considered the natural child of a wage earner if, under the law of the state where the wage earner was domiciled at the time of his death, the child would be entitled to inherit from the wage earner under that state's law of intestate succession. 42 U.S.C. ' 416(h)(2)(A); 20 C.F.R. ' 404.355(a)(1) (2001).

Hawaiian law provides that a natural child will take through intestate succession regardless of the marital status of the child's parents. HAW. REV. STAT. ' 560:2-114. The claimant has been declared to be the natural child of the wage earner by a state court of Hawaii in the judgment of paternity entered on June 19, 2000. This judgment of paternity appears to meet the four requirements for the Agency to accept a determination of paternity made by a state court: it was issued by a court of competent jurisdiction in a domestic relations case contested by parties with opposing interests, in accordance with Hawaiian law (Chapter 584, HAW. REV. STAT). See Social Security Ruling 83-37c. Therefore, under the law of intestate succession in Hawaii the claimant would be considered the child of the wage earner for purposes of intestate succession. For this reason, the claimant is a dependent child for purposes of his claim for child's insurance benefits on the wage earner's record. 42 U.S.C. ' 416(h)(2)(A).

CONCLUSION

The claimant, therefore, must be considered the natural child of the wage earner for purposes of his claim for child's insurance benefits.

Janice L. W~
Regional Chief Counsel

By: ____________
Dennis J. M~
Assistant Regional Counsel

C. PR 82-040 Family Court Order — Dennis M. G~ ( June N~, Claimant for Child's Insurance Benefits)

DATE: August 19, 1982

1. SYLLABUS

INHERITANCE RIGHTS — BY ILLEGITIMATE CHILD — Hawaii

HAWAII—A decision by the Family Court in Hawaii as a result of an action properly brought (as to jurisdiction and trustiness) is sufficient to establish a valid parent-child for purposes of inheritance rights to intestate personal property without having access to the evidence used to arrive at the Court Decision. Under the law, the records of the Family Court proceedings are confidential. (G~, Dennis M. - ~ - Region. IX (TRELOAR)to RC 08/19/82)

2. OPINION

The claimant, Jensie N~, was born on March 1, 1978. Her mother, June N~, was not married. The baby's father evidently was not listed initially on the birth certificate; the certificate was amended on March 19, 1980, to add Dennis C~ name as the father. Dennis died in Hawaii on April 9, 1978. He never married (or attempted to marry) June. He also never acknowledged Jensie in writing as his child, and he did not contribute to the child's support, by June's own admission. Numerous statements from friends and relatives, however, indicate that Dennis orally acknowledged Jensie as his child. Subsequent to Dennis' death, June N~ filed a petition against the administrator of Dennis" estate in a Hawaii family court to have Dennis declared the father of Jensie. On March 7, 1980, the court granted the petition and found that Dennis was the father of Jensie. Pursuant to that court's determination, Jensie's birth certificate was amended to indicate that Dennis was her father. June has filed an application on behalf of Jensie for child's benefits on Dennis' account. You sought our advice as to whether Jensie qualifies as Dennis' child under Hawaii's Uniform Parentage Act.

You are, of course, correct in concluding that Hawaii law applies in assessing Jensie's status, inasmuch as Dennis died a Hawaii domiciliary. See section 216(h)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act. Hawaii courts would apply Hawaii's intestacy laws in probating a domiciliary's estate. Hawaii Revised Statutes (hereinafter "HRS") §560:1-301. Hawaii's Uniform 'Parentage Act, HRS Chapter 584, was enacted in 1975 and became effective on January 1, 1976. This Act now governs all paternity proceedings in Hawaii. See Roe v. Doe, 59 Haw. 259, 581 P.2d 310 (1978). Because Jensie was born and Dennis died subsequent to January 1, 1976, there is no doubt that HRS Chapter 584 applies here. Where a parent-child relationship is established under Chapter 584, such child is legitimated pursuant to HRS §338-21(a) and therefore inherits from the parent as would any other legitimate child..

The determinative evidence of a parent-child relationship between Dennis and Jensie is the Family Court's March 7, 1980, decision and judgment that Dennis was the father of Jensie. This court judgment clearly was rendered in compliance with the requirements of Hawaii's Uniform Parentage Act. Section 584-6 of that Act authorizes such actions to determine a father and child relationship, and permits the mother of the child to bring such an action, as June N~ did here. Section 584-8 of Hawaii's UPA grants jurisdiction to family courts in all actions commenced under Chapter 584. Moreover, section 584-8(c) clearly provides for such actions to determine a father and child relationship even when the alleged father is deceased, provided the court has jurisdiction and proper venue. Inasmuch as the administrator of Dennis' estate appeared in the Family Court action, we have no doubt that-the court had jurisdiction and that venue was proper. Furthermore, the court's judgment was rendered two years and one week after Jensie's birth, so the action clearly was commenced within the three-year UPA statute of limitations period. See HRS §584-7; Roe v. Doe, cited above.

The fact that SSA was unable to obtain evidence from the files in the Family Court action also is consistent with HRS section 584-20, which guarantees confidentiality in such UPA actions and precludes inspection of all papers and records of the court action or proceedings without the consent of the court and all interested persons (or, for good cause shown, upon order of the court alone). We conclude that the certified copy of the court's judgment concerning the father and child relationship is sufficient in and of itself to establish the relationship between Dennis and Jensie; this judgment is conclusive evidence of the parent-child relationship under Hawaii law. See HRS §584-15. Because the parent-child relationship was established in an appropriate action pursuant to all requirements of Hawaii's UPA, we see no reason to examine the records from the Family Court proceedings; we will assume that the Family Court considered all evidence it considered to be relevant and material with respect to the paternity issue (see HRS §584-12) in rendering its decision. 7 Finally, the amendment of Jensie's birth certificate to reflect the paternity finding of the court also is consistent with Hawaii's UPA. See HRS §§58~-15(b) and 584-23.

For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that Jensie qualifies as the "child" of Dennis pursuant to section 216(h) (2) (A) of the Social Security Act and Hawaii's Uniform Parentage Act, and that Jensie is entitled, accordingly, to child's benefits. The Program Center suggested that CM 2422 (now POMS GN 00306.135) be amended to include Hawaii's UPA provisions concerning judicial determinations of the parent-child relationship. We concur with that idea and suggest that you undertake such action through your usual procedures.

You also inquired whether Dennis could be presumed to be Jensie's father pursuant to HRS §584-4, if paternity was not established by the Family Court's March 7, 1980, judgment. Because the court's judgment is sufficient to establish that father and child relationship, we need not determine the issue raised concerning the presumption of paternity.


Footnotes:

[1]

. As an alternative basis of establishing Claimant’s entitlement to child’s insurance benefits, you asked whether Claimant is the stepchild of NH based on NH’s July 2006 marriage to Claimant’s biological mother in British Columbia, Canada. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.357. However, because we find that Claimant is NH’s natural child under Hawaii law, the agency need not address her entitlement to benefits as the NH’s stepchild.

[2]

. The term “natural child,” as used in the agency’s regulations means a child who can establish his or her status under any of the criteria in 20 C.F.R. § 404.355(a).

[3]

. Although agency regulations and Hawaii law both use the term “natural child,” the term has a different meaning under each source of law.

[4]

. Similarly, the agency, interpreting Hawaii law, determined that a non-biological father qualified as a presumptive parent under chapter 584-4(a)(4) where he was actively involved in the child’s life, had a strong emotional bond with the child, and voluntarily signed the child’s birth certificate despite knowing that he did not have a biological relationship to the child. Program Operations Manual Systems (POMS) PR 01005.014 Hawaii (Jun. 14, 2013).

[5]

. As in Hawaii, under California law, a person is presumed to be the natural parent of a child if he or she “receives the child into his or her home and openly holds out the child as his or her natural child.” Cal. Fam. Code § 7611(d). Likewise, California’s public policy is similar to that of Hawaii, favoring determinations that result in a child having two parents. See Charisma R. v. Kristina S., 175 Cal. App. 4th 361, 374 (Cal. Ct. App. 2009) (noting California’s “public policy favoring a child having two parents to provide emotional and financial support”) ( citing Elisa B. v. Superior Court, 37 Cal. 4th 108, 123 (2005) & Librers v. Black, 129 Cal. App. 4th 114, 123 (Cal. Ct. App. 2005)).

[6]

. It is unclear how NH and T~ were legally married in Hawaii in 2013 when they were already married in Canada in 2006. See Haw. Rev. Stat. § 572-1 (for a Hawaii marriage “between two individuals without regard to gender” to be valid, “neither party [may] [have] at the time any lawful wife, husband, or civil union partner living…”).

[7]

. We also find no evidence to indicate that the judgment of the Family Court as to the parent-child relationship between Dennis and Jensie was erroneous. Under a more questionable set of circumstances, however, it might be appropriate to obtain the consent of the court and all interested parties to inspect the court's papers and records.


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PR 01115.014 - Hawaii - 05/09/2016
Batch run: 05/10/2016
Rev:05/10/2016