The California legislature is debating a bill that would allow a child to have more than two parents. According to this article in the Sacramento Bee:
Examples of three-parent relationships that could be affected by SB 1476 include:
• A family in which a man began dating a woman while she was pregnant, then raised that child with her for seven years. The youth also had a parental relationship with the biological father.
• A same-sex couple who asked a close male friend to help them conceive, then decided that all three would raise the child.
• A divorce in which a woman and her second husband were the legal parents of a child, but the biological father maintained close ties as well.
How would a three-parent arrangement work for purposes of who can claim the child on a tax return? Since this is a new story and the proposal hasn’t become law yet, I haven’t done hard-core research, but these are a few “top of my head” thoughts:
- If all three parents live together, I suppose the three could decide among themselves who claims the child. That’s how it works for same-sex couples who are the legal parents of a child: as long as they all live together more than half the year, then the couple can decide who claims the child.
- If the child splits time between his or her three parents, the situation seems to get complicated. The child has to live with a taxpayer “more than half the year” in order for a taxpayer to claim the child.
- And if this involves divorced opposite-sex parents (but not same-sex parents because the federal government never recognized the marriage in the first place), the divorce decree would come into play, too.