The California legislature is currently debating a bill which, if it passes, will allow children to have more than two legal parents. Currently, the state does not recognize more than two parents, causing many same-sex and blended families to maintain an uncertain legal status.

According to the state senator that sponsored the bill, the law would primarily benefit, especially in situations in which the first two parents become unable to care for the child. For example, if both same-sex parents are killed in a car accident, the biological parent of the child could step up and take custody. Under the current law, that child could end up being sent to foster care.

There are several additional legal benefits to being named a parent of the child. Often, non-parents cannot pick kids up from school, designate children as a beneficiary on health insurance or receive tax deductions.

Critics of the law say that it is merely an attempt to redefine family and expand the rights of same-sex couples. However, proponents point out that prospective parents would have to meet the same legal standards that are currently in place, and that a judge would have to find that designating a third parent is in the child’s best interests.

One family law attorney believes that it is a mistake to turn away parents who are willing to provide love and support to children. “So often, we are struggling with parents who don’t want the responsibilities and obligations of parenting,” she said. “So when you have another parent willing to step up and take on those responsibilities, aren’t we so lucky?”

Source : The Bulletin, ” 3, 4 or more: the parent question,” Ian Lovett, July 14, 2012

At our California family law firm, we help parents gain custody and visitation rights of their children. For more information, please visit our child custody page.

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