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

Phone: 901-443-4599
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