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Governor Brown signs bill authorizing more than 2 legal parents

It may be possible for a child in California to have more than two legal parents under a law signed by California Governor Jerry Brown last week. The law is aimed at recognizing the changing landscape of the family structure, according to its sponsor who is a state senator from San Francisco. Under the new law, a court may issue an order that recognizes more than two legal parents. Last year, the governor vetoed a similar measure.

The issue apparently made the radar screen after a court ruling sent a child to foster care. A woman had become pregnant with the child during a break from a same-sex relationship. Later, the two women got back together, but issues in the relationship apparently reemerged.

The two women were the legal parents of the child. The women had a dispute and one of the then wound up in the hospital, with the other incarcerated. The biological father was not recognized as a legal parent, and under the circumstances, the young child was placed in foster care.

The new law will give judges discretion to recognize more than two legal parents. A main idea of the law is to provide a legal basis for ccourts to make rulings in child support, child custody and other similar issues in family court. The law itself does not necessarily modify overall family court standards, including the idea that child custody and other issues are to be resolved with proper consideration of the best interests of the child.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Brown signs bill to allow children more than two legal parents,” Patrick McGreevy and Melanie Mason, Oct. 4, 2013

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