November 01, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- California law change to allow more than two legal parents of a child
On Oct. 4, 2013, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that will allow a state court to legally declare that a child has more than two parents, if not doing so would be "detrimental" to the child. California joins four other states and D.C., which already allow this finding either by statute or as the result of court holdings.
The bill was written by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, to reflect modern family compositions that may involve both same-sex couples and biological parents, according to the Los Angeles Times. Leno commented that his concern is that kids be allowed to continue all loving parental relationships in custody and visitation matters and that all adults who raise children also be required to meet their financial responsibilities toward them should child support
become an issue.
The legislative findings in the law say that it is also meant to change the 2011 holding of a state Court of Appeal that no circumstance would allow a court to declare more than two parents even if more than two met the definition of a parent under the law. In that case the child at issue went to foster care when a potential third parent could have been a placement option.
Opponents of the bill cite preservation of traditional family structures and roles.
Interestingly, Gov. Brown vetoed a similar measure previously, writing that he was "troubled by the fact that some family law specialists believe the bill's ambiguities may have unintended consequences." The governor said then that he wanted more time to consider "all of the implications of this change."
The Los Angeles Times article said that the governor's staff did not return calls asking why he had decided to endorse the new approach this time.
Sen. Leno was also interviewed by The Sacramento Bee, which reported that he expected was that it would be rare for a court to find more than two parents, but that the option would be available if it would be in the child's best interests.
Indeed, the new law states that the court in deciding whether to recognize more than two parents looks at the detriment to the child of not doing so. To determine detriment, the court must look at "all relevant factors," including "the harm of removing the child from a stable placement with a parent who has fulfilled the child's physical ... and psychological needs for care and affection ... for a substantial period of time."
In a related matter, the bill also deals with adoption, providing that while normally upon adoption of a child, the existing parents no longer have parental duties or responsibility, now the existing and adoptive parents can together waive that provision, an act that presumably would create another situation allowing more than two legal parents.
Legal advice essential
The new law will take effect in 2014, when courts can start considering more than two parents in child custody
, visitation and child support matters. Anyone contemplating legal action that will involve custody, parenting time or child support for a child that could be considered to have more than two parents should speak with a knowledgeable family lawyer for advice about whether to take action this year or in 2014 when the changes apply. Similarly, anyone in an existing custody or child support arrangement in which more than two parents would be more appropriately involved can pose questions to an experienced California child custody and support attorney about new options in 2014.
Article provided by Anthony C. Starks Law Office
Visit us at www.anthonystarkslaw.com