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A Child May Have More Than Two Parents

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In Pennsylvania a child can possibly have more than two legal parents 

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By Attorney Jeffrey B. Engle, Custody Lawyer, Harrisburg, PA


In the case of Jacob v. Shultz-Jacob, 2007 PA Super 118, 923 A.2d 473 (2007)
, in which a sperm donor was liable for child support in a cross-claim by an estranged lesbian partner. The court stopped short of saying there were three legal parents, but noted as follows:

We recognize this is a matter which is better addressed by the legislature rather than the courts. However, in the absence of legislative mandates, the courts must construct a fair, workable and responsible basis for the protection of children, aside from whatever rights the adults may have vis a vis each other.

Jacob v. Shultz-Jacob, 2007 PA Super 118, ¶ 24, 923 A.2d 473, 482 (2007).

It is permissible for a child to have two legal parents of the same gender. In the case of Beltran v. Piersody, 2000 PA Super 66, 748 A.2d 715 (2000), dissenting opinion by Olszewski, J.: "I also note that it is impossible for J.P. to have three parents. While a child may have two mothers or two fathers, see J.A.L. v. E.P.H., 453 Pa. Super. 78, 682 A.2d 1314 (1996) (parties by their conduct created a parent-like relationship between appellee's homosexual partner and her biological child, thus giving partner standing to seek custody), he cannot have two fathers and one mother." Cited in J.F. v. D.B., 66 Pa. D. & C.4th 1, 2004 WL 1570142 (C.P. 2004).

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