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Parental responsibility: Child custody in polyamorous situations

The definition of family today differs greatly from decades ago. Still, no matter what relationships people are in, as parents, the parental responsibility still exists to do what is in the best interests of their children, and that also holds true in respect to custodial situations. Florida residents who are in polyamorous relationships may find themselves in sticky situations should they decide to break ties with one or more partners who may have a vested interest in the children.

Awarding custody to more than two parents is relatively new, but it has been done. In a nutshell, polyamory is described as having an intimate relationship with more than one partner, with the consent of all partners involved. It has been described as consensual, ethical and responsible non-monogamy. Issues have been known to crop up, however, when a person finds out that his or her former partner is in a polyamorous situation and he or she alleges that the relationship is not in the best interests of the children.

Those in polyamorous relationships seem to be faced with the same struggles when it comes to child custody that same-sex couples had years ago. Legal protections are fewer for people who don't fit the societal conventions of the definition of family, and that includes polyamory. A study has shown that, when custody was challenged on the grounds of polyamory, parents almost always lost custody of their kids.

Unconventional adult relationships may lead one parent to question the parental responsibility of another. A Florida family law attorney may be able to provide advice to his or her clients in such situations. Society is changing, and laws have been changing to reflect different lifestyles. The bottom line is the courts will always rule based on what it believes is in the best interests of the children, no matter what the situation.

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  • The Florida Bar| Board Certified | Marital & Family Law
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