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Divorce in Non-Traditional Romantic Relationships

August 5, 2021 Uncategorized

It might be tough to keep up with the rapid changes in our culture. In 2015, the Supreme Court made gay marriage legal. More and more people are experimenting with non-traditional kinds of non-monogamy, ranging from open marriages to polyamory, across the country, and particularly here in California. What defines a person as “male” or “female” is a contentious topic.

Numerous states’ laws have yet to be completely rewritten to reflect the new dynamics, and all of these relationship models have an impact on parenting. Although legalized same-sex marriages are still a relatively new phenomena, a parent’s legal rights are generally obvious. More challenging considerations occur when a couple invites another adult into their house as a third member of the partnership.

None of the newer scenarios address the legal issues that have grown commonplace in our country. It’s possible that a child’s parents aren’t married. A pregnant woman may marry a man who is not her child’s biological father. In a monogamous marriage, one spouse either gets pregnant by or impregnates another.

Let’s assume the “conventional” model is as follows: one cisgendered man; one cisgendered woman; both biological parents of a kid; legally married; monogamous – then let’s look at how the law now handles parental rights in a “non-traditional” model.

What Defines Paternity?

The topic of “paternity” is one of the most important aspects of parental rights. The legal term for someone’s father is paternity. Regardless of a person’s biological relationship to a child, paternity is the criterion that will establish whether or not their fatherhood is lawful. Simply said, you may be the biological father of someone by birth, but the law may not recognize you as such.

Unmarried Biological Parents

To date, California law is unambiguous. Marriage is required for a guy to claim paternity of his child. The guy will be granted fatherhood at the time of birth if the parents are married and both the parents of the fetus.

The process becomes a little more tricky if they are not married. In that case, a male would have to file a paternity claim. Both parents must sign a voluntary statement of parenthood to do this. The form will then be sent to the Parentage Opportunity Program of the California Department of Child Support Services (POP).

Same-Sex Marriage involving an Outside Parent

The following scenario may appear to be more complicated than it actually is. In any heterosexual, stepparent arrangement, the legal bounds are the same. Consider the case of Patrick, a guy, and Hanna, a woman. They eventually divorced, and Patrick married a man named Malik. Nothing changes if the legal status of Patrick and Hanna’s kid has already been determined. Patrick remains the father, Hanna remains the mother, and Malik has become a stepfather. The legalities are not difficult to discern if the genders of the people involved are ignored.

California Non-Monogamous Situations

Determining parental rights is simple at the moment. Anyone who is not legally married to the parent of a child is unlikely to have any claim to the child. If someone has several romantic relationships, even if those partners are deeply involved with the family, this will be the case. Take romance out of the equation. Consider a close family friend who is always there in the home and has been involved in the upbringing of the children for decades. In the event of a divorce or the parents’ deaths, this family friend will not be able to just claim the children as their own. However, parents can name legal guardians in their wills, which could be a way to circumvent parental rights.

California’s polygamy laws (marrying many individuals) are harsh, but not its cohabitation rules. Keisha will be breaking the law if she tries to marry two guys lawfully. In the event of Keisha’s death, this could have an impact on parenting. If Keisha is married to only one man, but her boyfriend lives in the same house as the couple, the state permits it and does not ask any questions about it.

Ask an Attorney if you have any questions about this matter.

We’ve merely scratched the surface of all the ways a family could be mixed in 2021. Call a lawyer if you have any questions about your rights as an unmarried parent, a stepparent, a same-sex parent, a third adult in an open partnership, and so on. A qualified attorney can help you cut through the red tape, figure out where you are, and assist you and your family plan for the future, no matter how intricate or detailed your case is.

Call us right away if you have any questions or concerns regarding your parental rights. We can provide you with a free consultation by calling the law offices of Spodek Law Group or by contacting us online.



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