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Family Law

An 'Extra Parent': NY Law Can Accommodate That Situation

We have seen surrogate mothers seek custody of children they carried for couples who provided their own egg and sperm; same-sex co-parents fight for visitation rights with children with whom they have no biological or adoptive connection; and grandparents argue that they are the “real” parent to a child. Now comes a new twist: custody of a boy born after three people decided they wanted to have a child.

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In today’s world of shifting family roles and scientific changes in even how a child comes into the world, the question of who is a “parent” can get murky. We have seen surrogate mothers seek custody of children they carried for couples who provided their own egg and sperm; same-sex co-parents fight for visitation rights with children with whom they have no biological or adoptive connection; and grandparents argue that they are the “real” parent to a child whose biological parent might have been mentally or physically absent for much of a child’s life. Now comes a new twist: the question of custody of a child born after three people decided they wanted to have a child. The case, Dawn M. v. Michael M., 2017 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 807, *; 2017 NY Slip Op 27073 (Sup. Ct., Suffolk Cty., 3/8/17), presented a unique question to a New York court, but one that just might be repeated — in some form or another — in future cases.

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