Recent Developments

What’s new!


1. Multiple parent law.


Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation allowing children to have more than two parents.


Senate Bill 274 authorizes a court to recognize more than two parents if endorsing fewer would be “detrimental” to the child. The bill that Brown vetoed last year would have provided judges the authority to identify multiple parents if doing so was “required in the best interest of the child.”


Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, stressed that his measure applies only to families with more than two people who meet the state’s definition of a parent. It does not apply to stepparents, grandparents, girlfriends or caretakers. In an interview, Leno said he expected the law to be used sparingly, such as when a child could be at risk of unnecessarily entering the foster care system. “The bill in its essence merely allows for greater judicial discretion,” Leno said. “It’s really about the child and in the best interest of the child.”


Last year’s version of the bill attracted attention after some critics argued it would make it possible for children to have six or even eight parents. Supporters countered that the proposal was intended when a child is at risk of having too few parents.


Leno’s measure grew out of an appellate court case involving a biological mother, her same-sex partner and a man who had an affair with the mother while she was temporarily separated from her female lover. In the 2011 case, the California Court of Appeal held that courts could not recognize more than two parents even if doing so would protect the child from harm.


Four other states and the District of Columbia have also recognized more than two parents.


Exactly how this will be implemented remains unclear. Does this mean that a step parent could effectively obtain parenting rights by establishing them as presumed parent? How would this effect child support calculations? It will be up to the Courts to figure out these unanswered questions.


2. Date of Separation: Davis v. Davis.


Establishing a separation date is important since it can determine how assets and debts are allocated, and well as establishing the duration of marriage which is an important factor when determining duration of spousal support. But what happens when the parties live to together even after one of them says the marriage is over? Until recently, took quite a bit to establish that there was a separation when the parties lived together. But in the recent case of Davis v. Davis, the Court of Appeal rule that living together did not create as high a burden as before when establishing the date of separation. This seems to mean that couples living together but still married, can be separated if the proper steps are taken. This is important for couples who want a divorce, but can’t afford to live apart, as well as parents who want to “Nest” their children as opposed to them living in two households. Davis says its possible to have the parents and children all live in the same house, and yet have the parents considered separated if the right things are done.

Share your thoughts

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.