California Considers Multiple Parenting Law And I’m All For It

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The make-up of families in this country is changing. And I say that it’s about time the family court system acknowledge that there are lots of different ways to conceive and raise children. California is on it’s way to things a little bit easier for families of all kinds with a bill that would allow more than two legal guardians of a child.

Can’t figure out why such a bill would be necessary?

Think about same-sex couples who chose to have the biological birth parent of their child involved in their life. In one California case, a lesbian couple found themselves unable to care for their child. One partner was suffering from serious health issues and the other had run into legal problems. The father who had helped them conceive their little girl had a relationship with his daughter and was an active part of her life. But the child still had to go into foster care because he wasn’t a legal relative, able to take responsibility of his biological daughter. Having multiple parents possible would’ve helped this little girl through a very difficult time.

It’s not just same-sex couples that this bill would help. For couples who choose an open adoption, they could let the birth parents of their children have some small scope of legal rights as parents. In the event of an emergency, it would give the family more options and help the child keep some form of consistency.

In my own life, I would love to hear that my state was considering this type of legislation. My husband and I got engaged before my daughter’s second birthday. She’s spent more time living with my husband than she spent living with me alone. Her stepdad is an important part of her life. That doesn’t mean that her biological father isn’t, but it means that she has two dads who both deserve recognition as her parents. I’m terrified by the fact that if anything happened to me, my husband might not be able to have a relationship with my daughter, no matter what type of legal action I try to take right now.

The fact is that families are changing, they look different than they ever did before. Raising children outside of wedlock is officially more common for young parents than getting married before they have kids. Same-sex partners are finally getting the recognition and support they deserve from our government. Fertility specialists are considering the possibility of using three donors instead of two, to help prevent genetic diseases.

Families are different, and they deserve a family court system that acknowledges these cultural changes and still tries to do what’s best to help children. If you have three parents in your life, you should be able to legally acknowledge that situation.

Of course there will be special concerns to look at. Families who want this recognition will need to agree on legal and financial responsibility, visitation, and other issues. You’ll need people who really want to work together for their children. But it should be an option. It should be available to those who want to legally acknowledge the realities of their lives, and the fact that it’s possible, and increasingly common, for more than two people to parent a child.

(Photo: Matthew Benoit/Shutterstock)