By Ellen S. Fischer, Esquire, Collaborative Law Professionals of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The definition of a family is rapidly changing.
It has become ordinary for two parent households to consist of either a mom and a dad or two dads or two moms.
But now there are three parent households and the New Jersey family court has recently decided that there can be a “tri-parenting” family arrangement. The case, DG v KS, has ruled that two married men and the biological mother are all parents and that they will share physical custody of their daughter.*
There were a multitude of legal filings and many, many days spent in a courtroom fighting over the custody rights of a young girl between March, 2014 and August, 2015, when the case was finally decided, although It was not until February 5, 2016 that the case was released for publication.
Imagine if these folks had instead chosen the collaborative process. They would have had the benefit of capable, caring, compassionate counsel and of child specialists and a coach to help. As happens the moment parents become adversaries in a courtroom, these parents, who wanted to create a loving and alternative family, are instead estranged from each other and are unable to communicate in a way that allows their child to appreciate how good their intentions were.
The break-up of tri-parenting families and other alternative parenting life-styles involving transgender families and same-sex couples are particularly suited to the Collaborative Process. Many of these families do not want to be public about their lives or do not otherwise want to get involved in ugly and contentious litigation.
Our Collaborative Professionals are extremely familiar with and are particularly informed about non-traditional families.
*See article by Eugene Volokh in the Washington Post