Tri-Parenting in Monmouth and Ocean County Child Custody Cases
Tri-parenting is an arrangement in which three adults share responsibilities of raising a child. Learn more from our attorney in Toms River, Wall, Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey
As we move into a new era of authenticity in child-rearing, many non-traditional arrangements are joining the more traditional two-parent household as a means by which adults come together to give their children a well-rounded and healthy childhood. Legal structures are evolving in order to keep up with the evolving ways families come together. Co-parenting is one such arrangement, in which two people who have chosen not to be in partnership work together to raise a child, legally sharing custody of the child. Another more modern approach to child-rearing is called tri-parenting.
The term tri-parenting took the stage during a 2016 New Jersey child custody case. In this case, three friends, which included one woman and a same-sex male couple, had decided to conceive and raise a child together. Using the sperm from one of the men, the woman was impregnated and brought the baby to term.
After the child was born, the child lived with the mother while the couple settled into a new home. Upon finding a home, the three amicably raised the child together until the woman decided to move across the country to California to pursue a relationship. She wanted to take the child with her. Because she and the couple had a legally binding arrangement regarding the co-parenting terms, the couple petitioned for sole custody of the child.
The New Jersey Family Part court ruled that, though one of the adults filing for sole legal and physical custody was not the biological parent of the child, he could be considered a ‘psychological parent’ because of the bond that had been formed. As such, the court found that staying with the couple was in the child’s best interest, and the woman’s request to move the child to California was denied. Additionally, the court ordered that legal and residential custody of the child would be shared. Through this case, the term ‘tri-parenting’ was coined, and the precedent was set for ‘psychological parenting’ that is one of the foundational pieces of such an arrangement.
Benefits of Tri-Parenting
The main benefit of tri-parenting is the concept of strength in numbers. When a child has multiple positive influences and caretakers in their life, including non-traditional parenting arrangements and the extended families and networks that this allows, they grow up surrounded by multiple, diverse models of what it means to be a loving human being. It takes a village to raise a child, and adding a parent to the immediate family circle strengthens the familial community surrounding and nourishing the youth.
Prepare for Tri-Parenting
Legally speaking, there are essential elements of the arrangement that need to be discussed before entering into a tri-parenting agreement. These include who will make decisions regarding the child, such as medical decisions and what school they will attend; what will happen in the case of divorce of the biological and psychological parent; how marriage or remarriage would be handled; and clear terms of the family dynamic, including specific time the child spends with each, and what would happen if one wanted to move. Having a skilled attorney involved to draft a preconception agreement can help ensure that the child is going to enter into a stable and clear environment.
As in any relationship, communication in a tri-parenting agreement is key. This is because it is common for visions regarding child-rearing to differ between parents, even more so if those parents are not partners living under the same roof. In order to prepare for differing styles of parenting and create a compatible framework that maintains the integrity of each unique approach, keeping the best interests of the child at heart, works together to develop a practical vision for ‘a week in the life.’ Break down each day by an hour and work together to develop routines and rituals that will take place in each home. This will create stability in the physical, mental, and emotional life of your child. Additionally, celebrate what each parent does differently! Have each parent share with the other things that are important to them to include in the life of the child. Being aware of the others’ parenting styles can help open the lines of communication in the households and create a sense of bonding across the family.
Contact a Brick and Sea Girt NJ Child Custody Attorney Today
Peter J. Bronzino, our attorney founding attorney is skilled in supporting families across Point Pleasant, Asbury Park, Spring Lake, Brick, and all of Eastern New Jersey as they undergo the process of entering into a tri-parenting agreement.
Our direct approach ensures that the best interests of the child are ensured in a clear and compatible way.