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Will the court recognize your 'modern' family?

When you think of the old African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child,” it is easy to forget more than two people can be parental figures in a child’s life. Indeed, authority figures, whether it is a teacher, coach or counselor can add insight and wisdom to a child’s life, but more courts are recognizing additional people that can have legal and/or physical custody of a child.

A prime example of family courts recognizing the dynamics of new “modern families) is a change in California law that occurred in 2013 that allowed family court judges to recognize more than two parents in contested custody matters. The change ostensibly reflects new realities that previous statutes did not contemplate, such as situations where a surrogate carries a child for same sex parents or a heterosexual couple, or fathers seeking to keep parental rights after paternity is ultimately disproven. 

Of course, the acceptance of awarding parental rights to multiple parents has its critics. Some legal experts believe that this practice could be harmful because it would promote instability and give improper parental figures reason for more litigation.  After all, research shows that kids living in, two-parent households are more likely to excel academically and be more emotionally resilient than kids who don’t live in such environments.

Ultimately, complex, non-traditional relationships should not prevent you from having your day in court. If you have questions about your legal rights as a parent under Tennessee law, an experienced family law attorney can advise you.

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

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Mr. Thomas kept me well informed during my lengthy divorce. He always returned my calls within 24 hours, usually sooner. He gave me very good advice and listened to all of my concerns. He always told me what I needed to hear, not necessarily what I wanted to hear. I found him to be a nice, honest and hard-working lawyer.

- Carrie -

Justin and his staff are a great team! Justin represented me after the divorce was finalized and fixed what the original attorney told me was set in stone! Everything we asked for we received, from both the court and the staff. It has been almost two years and I can still contact them for anything I need and they are ALWAYS more than willing to help! I recommend Justin and his staff as much as possible. There is no way I would ever use anyone else!

- Robbie -

Justin Thomas represented me in a divorce and I was very pleased with his work ethic and representation. He was extremely professional and cared about what was in the best interest of my son and me. He kept the cost of the divorce to a minimum, which was great! I believe he provided excellent representation and honestly cared about me, the outcome of my divorce, and most importantly, my time with my son. I have recommended Mr. Thomas to several friends and will continue to do so.

- John -


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Thomas Family Law Firm, PLC
7642 Poplar Pike
Germantown, TN 38138

Phone: 901-443-4599
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