Invalid Disavowal of a Child and Child's Social Security Benefits - Melvin
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Invalid Disavowal of a Child and Child’s Social Security Benefits

by Melvin Cook

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R and W lived together out of wedlock in California, begetting a child, C. R acknowledged C in writing as his child, received the child into his family, and treated the child as his own legitimate child, thus legitimating C pursuant to the California Civil Code.

During the time the couple lived together with their child, R became entitled to old age social security insurance benefits and C became entitled to child’s social security benefits based on R’s earnings record.

The couple later broke up and R disavowed C as his child. However, California law provided that, once a child is legitimated according to the California Code, the acknowledgment of the child is irrevocable.

Thus, R’s attempted disavowal of the child was ineffective and the child remained entitled to child’s social security insurance benefits based on R’s earnings record.

These old social security rulings distinguishing between children born in and out of wedlock, while of some historical interest, seem quaint in light of the 1977 Supreme Court decision of Trimble v. Gordon, which essentially did away with invidious distinctions based on a child’s legitimacy (a factor totally beyond their control).

See Social Security Ruling (SSR) 69-15.

This material should not be construed as legal advice for any particular fact situation but is intended for general informational purposes only. For advice specific to any individual situation, an experienced attorney should be contacted.

Contact a Salt Lake City Attorney Committed to Protecting Your Rights

When it comes the family law and social security disability, each client and case is different. It is also important to select an attorney with the experience, skills and professionalism required to address your legal issues. To learn more, contact the Salt Lake City law offices of Melvin A. Cook and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your case.

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