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Child custody split 3 ways in unusual legal ruling

Faced with the need to determine the care and custody of a child, family law courts in Maryland and elsewhere are tasked with looking into which living arrangement will serve the best interests of the child or children at the center of any given case. In most instances, the court is weighing the options presented by the child's mother and father. There are child custody cases, however, in which the parties do not fit the traditional family mold.

An example is found in a recent ruling in which a judge divided custody rights between three parties. The matter began when a man and wife tried to conceive a child. Unsuccessful, they later began a romantic relationship with a female neighbor. The three lived as a family for a number of years, and the neighbor eventually became pregnant.

All three adults agreed to raise the child together, but a year after their little boy was born, the two women decided to leave the man and move in together. They brought the boy with them, and the couple filed for divorce. The father was then faced with having to mount a child custody fight in order to spend time with his son.

Cases like this that present an unconventional arrangement to the courts do not always have a predictable ending. In this case, the judge was willing to overlook the unusual lifestyle of the parties and focus on what was right for the little boy, who was 10 years old at the time of the ruling. A decision was made to divide child custody rights between all three parties, which ensures that each individual will have the chance to play a role in the child's life. For parents in Maryland who are facing an unconventional custody battle, this outcome could be encouraging.

Source: CNN, "Judge gives custody of child to 1 dad and 2 moms", Sarah Jorgensen and Ellie Kaufman, March 14, 2017

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