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Child custody case involves 3 parents

When residents in Las Vegas think about child custody issues, the typical scenario of two parents duking it out for rights comes to mind. It might involve two parents who want equal rights or a parent who wants to take rights away from the other parent due to severe circumstances. But what happens when there are three parents involved, and all three want to be legally recognized?

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and it seems a judge in Florida agrees. The judge recently ruled on a unique case involving a lesbian couple, their daughter and a male friend. The man donated his sperm to the couple to help them conceive the child, now 22 months old, making a verbal agreement that the couple would be the parents, with one of the women adopting the girl.

But a while later, the man decided he wanted to play a bigger role in the girl's life and hired a lawyer in order to make himself her legal parent. As sperm donors do not have legal rights under Florida law, the women disagreed with his request. But the issue ended up being the verbal agreement. An attorney for the women said the couple and man should have written out a document detailing his rights and responsibilities.

In the end, the judge in the case made a decision to have all three of them on the child's birth certificate. The women would have sole parental rights, while the man would be allowed to visit her. He is also not expected to pay child support.

One of the women said that in this case they are trying to do the right thing for their daughter by having him in her life, but not as a parent. She said his role would be "mommy's good friend who helped your moms have you because they wanted you so badly."

This unique case is a great example of how modern family structures have changed the face of family law. With cases like these setting a precedent, it is important to keep up with the developments of family law in order to reach the best outcome in every individual situation.

Source: Reuters, "Florida judge approves birth certificate listing three parents," Kevin Gray, Feb. 7, 2013

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