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Unusual fathers' rights case makes national headlines

An unusual case has led to a great deal of media attention in Missouri and across the nation. The case centers on a family in which a man and his wife invited another woman into their marriage. A resulting pregnancy added to their unusual family dynamic, and eventually to a child custody case that has set legal precedent, and resulted in a fathers' rights victory.

The man and wife had tried to conceive a child, and the wife had suffered a miscarriage. Later, they met a woman living next door, and initiated a sexual relationship with her. That relationship turned into an alternative family structure, and the neighbor eventually became pregnant. The parties agreed to raise the child together, but when the baby boy was nearly a year old, the two women decided to leave the man and reside solely with one another.

A period of time passed before the husband and wife filed for divorce. However, the man was placed in a difficult position, and without access to his biological child. He filed for child custody, and a court recently ruled that he is entitled to play a parental role in the child's life. However, the court also found that the man's former wife, who is not biologically related to the child, should also be granted custody rights.

The fathers' rights case concluded with a ruling that all three parties, the biological mother, father and the father's former wife, will share custody of the child, who is now 10 years old. That unconventional arrangement will allow the father to remain connected to his son, who resides with the two women. It also recognizes the parental role that the mother's partner plays toward the boy. As more and more people choose to create familial bonds that are outside of the norm, these types of child custody outcomes may become more common, in Missouri and across the nation.

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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