Does Florida Allow for Tri-Parenting Rights?
The city of Somerville, Massachusetts recently adjusted its definition of a “domestic partnership” to include relationships amongst three or more adults, capturing news headlines; in part due to the city officially granting those in these partnerships (polyamorous, platonic, shared child adoption-based, etc.) the same rights held by those in a traditional marriage, such as health insurance benefits (specifically, city employees can extend their health benefits to multiple partners). Somerville is believed to be the first municipal ordinance to legalize and make official such a relationship, and the move will also undoubtedly have a strong impact on related issues, such as child custody. There is no question that it will now also be put to the test in a number of contexts, such as in terms of health insurance companies potentially rejecting the definition due to increasing coverage costs, etc.
Yet, what many people may not realize is that a number of family courts have already recognized that two fathers and one mother (or two mothers and one father) creates legal rights of parentage when all three plan to conceive and raise a child together, and granted all three visitation (or “time sharing”) rights under the justification that it can be in the best interests of the child to receive the love and additional resources that can come from having three versus two parents. Specifically, as of 2017, courts in at least 12 states (including Florida) had ruled that children can have more than two parents.
Legal Issues That Can Arise When the Proper Agreement Is Not in Place
Still, that doesn’t mean that serious issues do not come up—issues that can lead to litigation in family court. Shared parenting arrangements are usually only free of discord if parents have already discussed and agreed upon important parental rights issues that usually come up during parenting, such as what custody and visitation will specifically look like (i.e. if all parents do not live together, will the child be spending equal time at each person’s house, or primarily living at one home, with each parent visiting the child at that home, etc.?), as well as beliefs regarding lifestyle, schools, vaccinations, etc. When there is disagreement over issues like these, litigation often ensues, and can then continue to arise over everyday matters, such as the length of FaceTime calls, vacation days, etc.
Contact Our Florida Family Law Attorneys with Any Questions
There is no question that non-traditional families and associated arrangements and agreements can present challenges for the courts. If you have any questions or concerns related to family law—whether that involves child custody in a non-traditional relationship, prenuptial agreements, divorce, etc.—our Orlando family attorneys are available to provide you with the assistance you need. We can help with both the planning stages of complicated arrangements and helping to ensure that your interests are protected, as well as helping to resolve any issues that have come up after the fact in family law matters. Contact our office today for a free phone consultation.