Legal Tri-Parenting: More than just Mom & Dad

by | Jan 17, 2018 | Family Law

A Child Can Have More than Two Parents

Just this winter, New York joined Maine, California, and nine other states in declaring that a child can have more than two parents. While this might sound impractical, the decision affects a whole number of different families who have reasons for wanting more than two parents.

For example: a man who’d like to remain a legal father even if DNA testing reveals that the child is not genetically his; a terminally ill single parent who’d like to provide a surviving couple for her child, or a gay couple who decides to incorporate their donor/surrogate into their family and lifestyle.

While grandparents, siblings and other relatives can all step in and help when a parent or parents need it, allowing for a third person to be legally labeled a parent gives them different rights and responsibilities, and allows them to step into the child’s life in an entirely different way.

Without legal status as a parents, there are all sorts of smaller issues—doctors appointments, school meetings—that can prove tricky to get in to. And of course, many people just want to know that they have real, legal standing at the child’s parent and guardian.

Mia Poppe, a family law expert at Poppe & Associates, spoke about how important it is for all people who feel that they are a parent to the child—and have made the long commitment of caring for said child on a regular basis—to be able to bring their parentage to court.

There are some scientific situations which also allow children to have more than two parents.

3-parent children have also been a medical reality for the past few years. In traditional children, half the DNA comes from the mother and half comes from the father. In specific situations, a third DNA can be inserted into the fetus. When a child is found to have certain diseases located in the mitochondrial DNA, or mDNA, the mDNA can be spliced out and replaced with a “good” DNA, belonging to neither the mother nor the father.

The child now contains DNA from three separate “parents,” though the mDNA is not known to have impact on any genetic traits of the child. In this situation as well, a child or parent could go to court to argue for three (or more) legal parents.

With the new medical and legal possibilities, the modern family is growing and becoming more rich and complex. The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates are here to help you manage the complex rulings surrounding this matter—and to make your family whole. Contact us today for a free consultation!