|July 8, 2012: Proposed California Law Would Allow More than Two Parents
It took some people decades to adjust to two-income families. Now a California Senator wants to open the door to three (or more) parent families in the form of a piece of groundbreaking legislation benignly referred to as SB 1476.
The legislator at the center of this seismic shift in domestic structure is State Senator Mark Leno (D), who believes that, when it comes to counting parents in family court, California’s current laws are stuck in the past and fail to reflect current reality.
“[SB 1476] brings California into the 21st century, recognizing that there are more than Ozzie and Harriet families today,” stated Leno.
Not everyone, however, is interested in giving Ozzie and Harriet any parental reinforcements.
“It comes as no surprise that [Leno] would try to say that a child has more than two parents – that’s absurd,” stated Benjamin Lopez, a legislative analyze for the Traditional Values Coalition, which describes itself as representing Bible-based values. Lopez further claims that the SB 1476 will “revamp, redefine and muddy the waters” of traditional family structure.
Under the proposed new bill, if three (or more) people who provided parental responsibilities are unable to agree on child support, visitation, or custody details, a judge can divide those responsibilities among them if she or he deems it appropriate.
Leno argues that the bill doesn’t expand the current definition of parents. Rather, it gives judges the discretion to designate more than two parents if doing so is in the best interests of the child. For example, in divorces where neither parent is fit or able to provide parental responsibilities, a judge could consider another person(s) for the role — and keep a child out of foster care.
It’s a vision that has good intentions, but could lead to hidden dangers down the road, warns The Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, which claims that SB 1476 would affect everything from tax deductions to public assistance to Social Security rights, and more.
“This bill, in our opinion, if passed, will cause significant unintended consequences,” commented Diane Wasznicky, president of The Association of Certified Family Law Specialists.
Also asking legislators to brush up on their “if-then skills” is Karen Anderson of the California Protective Parents Association, who cautioned that SB 1746 could lead to children being bounced around from parent to parent (to parent…) during family break-ups.
“It’s hard enough for children to be split up two ways, much less multiple ways,” stated Andersen.
Leno’s bill has passed the Senate and is now in the Assembly for debate. If passed, it will apply equally to men, women, straight and gay couples.
Source: The Seattle Times.
For frequently asked questions on California divorce, click here.
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