Third Party Consultations

Under new California law, parentage is not defined solely as the parent-child relationship with the biological mother/father and child, but now extended to the possibility of recognizing more than two legal parents in the appropriate situations. The law has been implemented most commonly in situations where a same-sex couple wishes to have a child with an opposite sex third party. Though this is most common, it is certainly not the only situation a court would approve. Senate Bill 274 was enacted to accommodate the changing family dynamic in California today. The law allows courts to recognize all three parents to the child without terminating the legal relationship of one party, and thus enabling all three parents to share custody rights and financial responsibility.

California lawmakers enacted the act following an incident where a child was placed into foster care after one of her mothers was hospitalized, and the other jailed. The father, who the child had a relationship with, could not take emergency custody of her because his parent-child relationship was terminated upon adoption by the child’s other mother. The law enables judges to recognize that third parent relationship to preserve the best interests of the child and protect the child from preventable psychological and emotional harm. A third parent relationship is still far from common and therefore courts have the discretion to deny the third parent the legal recognition. They do, however, recognize the existence in rare situations.

If you believe your family relationship is one that qualifies for third parent recognition under California law, please contact our office to set up a consultation today.

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