Three parent families now legal in California

The traditional nuclear family has not been the norm in Los Angeles, California for many years. Today, a family can be defined in any number of different ways. Skip generation families, single parent households and same sex marriages have all redefined the domestic landscape, making more complex for so-called “non-traditional families” to deal with legal issues related to child custody.

The outdated precedent that a child can only have two legal parents was recently changed when the governor of California signed a law allowing more than two people to be granted status as a child’s legal parent in certain situations. For example, if a legally married woman conceives a child with another person—whether through adultery or as a sperm donor—who forges a relationship with the child, the court could grant “presumed parent” status to all three parties. Other situations that could warrant three legal parents could extend to surrogate mothers and same-sex marriages. Previously, the California Supreme Court has ruled in cases such as these that a child can only have two legal parents; but a case in 2011 inspired a change in legislation. When it comes to child custody issues, the law stipulates that each parent will not necessarily be entitled to joint custody. It also allows for departures from that standard child support guidelines.

As you can see, the new law raises a lot of questions when it comes to what is in the best interest of the child. If you find yourself in complicated domestic situation where more than two people want to claim parentship of a child, you may want to speak with a family law attorney to learn more about your legal options.

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