This Comment reviews the current state of parental rights and proposes statutory clarifications that would provide courts with the power to find that a child has more than two legal parents. Part II provides background information on the decline of the traditional family. The Part reviews how the law of parentage has progressed over time and provides an overview of the laws of several states and Canada that provide rights to, and impose duties on, a third parent. Part III discusses California Senate Bill 1476, which, had Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law in 2012, would have given California courts the discretion to find that a child has more than two legal parents if such a finding was in the child’s best interest. The Part concludes with a discussion of California Senate Bill 274, which Governor Brown signed into law in 2013, and allows California courts to find that a child has more than two legal parents if not making the finding would be detrimental to the child. Part IV discusses one court’s recognition of the fundamental right of children to maintain familial bonds. Part V outlines the criticism of Senate Bill 1476 and the expansion of legal parentage in general. Part VI responds to these criticisms and provides support for expanding the two-parent limit. Part VII details my proposed reforms to the current state of parentage law. The Part delves into the advantages of allowing courts to recognize more than two legal parents and discusses why it is necessary for the legislatures to give courts this discretion. Part VIII concludes.
Ann E. Kinsey,
A Modern King Solomon’s Dilemma: Why State Legislatures Should Give Courts the Discretion To Find that a Child Has More than Two Legal Parents,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol51/iss1/8