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California kids can now have three or more parents

California is a wonderfully diverse state and is home to families of many shapes and sizes. Regardless of whether they are one-parent homes, two-parent homes, children living with grandparents or stepparents or others, California families are unique to themselves and do their best to support their children.

A new law signed recently by Gov. Jerry Brown gives parents and those seeking to secure parental rights over children more options for defining their families. Under the now-signed SB 274 a child may have more than two legal parents. The bill evolved after a same-sex couple with a child separated and the biological father of the child could not exercise any rights over the child's well-being.

The law is intended to accommodate the expanding definition of family recognized in the state, including the rights of same-sex parents and their partners. Conservative interest groups have opposed the law and claimed it will not serve the best interests of California kids.

While the law may give more legitimate parents actual rights to physical and legal custody over their children it may also create more difficult scenarios for determining the best interests of the kids. Coordinating visitation schedules and parenting plans may become more challenging as more legal guardians are introduced to a family setting.

This law has great potential to help loving parents secure their rights toward raising their kids. It also presents some interesting challenges to families who want a consistent approach to child-rearing across multiple households. Despite the newness of this law, California family law specialists can help families find collaborative methods of defining custody to serve the best interests of their kids.

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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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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