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More courts recognizing 'modern' families

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There's an old adage that says it takes a village to raise a child. It is based on an African proverb reminding parents that everyone who comes into a child's life, whether it is a grandparent, aunt, uncle or even a teacher can add something of value to enhance the child's well-being. With that said, it appears that some family court judges are carrying this notion over to child custody and parenting time orders.

Thanks to a change in California law in 2013, courts may now recognize more than two parents when it comes to naming parents. The change reflects the true nature of today's modern families, including situations where same sex parents rely on a surrogate to carry a child, men seeking to maintain parental rights after DNA tests disprove their paternity and other unique situations.

Indeed, such new and unique ways of determining "parentage" rights is not without controversy. Some legal experts believe that giving multiple parental figures parental rights may be harmful to a child because it introduces more instability and the potential for protracted legal wrangling. Others contend that the emotional connection a child may develop with a person seeking "parentage" is as valuable as the biological relationship with a parent.

Nevertheless, our new realities are not as simple as they have been in the past, and courts across California (and the nation) reflect it. If you are in a "complex" relationship and you have questions about your legal rights as a parent, an experienced family law attorney can advise you.

The preceding is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.

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