The number of polyamorous families over the world is increasing, and more people are beginning to wonder what their rights are. It is always important to learn your rights so that you are informed should you ever be in a position where you need them.
There are many legal options that can be explored by polyamorous families to protect their rights and provide a layer of stability to their life.
If you’re in one of these families that doesn’t understand their rights properly, it’s important to learn them to protect yourself. We’ll help you learn more about how to protect your rights as a polyamorous family.
What is a polyamorous family?
A polyamorous family is a family unit that consists of three or more adults in a commited partnership. These adults don’t need to be romantically involved – they can be metamours, which means people who share a familial relationship without any romantic connections.
Most polyamorous families involve children, with three or more adults co-parenting together. Other polyamorous families use two adults as the mother and father figures, with the other adults being displayed as aunt or uncle figures.
Polyamorous people believe that you do not need to stick to one life partner, but can have multiple at the same time. These situations work best when all parties are polyamorous, or at least completely on board with the arrangement.
If one party is less convinced of the polyamorous setup than the others, that is when issues can arise. Jealousy is typically a common issue in these families, which is why it is so important for polyamorous families to protect their rights and have legal papers drawn up.
Legal concerns with polyamorous families
Many legal concerns that polyamorous families face overlap with multi-parent families. An example of a multi-parent family is two female lovers co-parenting with a platonic male friend who provided a sperm sample to create a child. The male will be a father rather than simply the sperm donor.
With polyamorous families, many people don’t go into the relationship thinking about legalities and having papers drawn up. This means that when there is a legal issue to resolve, many people haven’t made any of the important decisions that should have been taken care of from the start.
For example, there should be no ambiguity about your family dynamic. You need to be clear on who is a mother, father, aunt, or uncle. Is there more than one mom or dad? Multiple aunts or uncles?
Many people enjoy an ambiguous parenting style because it removes pressure and makes them think that they are going with the flow. However, when it comes to protecting your rights, you need to be clear on the dynamic and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Securing your parenting rights
Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can secure your parenting rights when in a polyamorous relationship.
Third parent adoption
One way to ensure that you are legally the parent of your child is to adopt them. Polyamorous adults should all adopt their children if they are all moms and dads, and maybe even if they are aunts and uncles.
Ensuring that you have adopted your child will give you all of the rights that their biological parents have. This will prevent any issues arising from you not legally having rights over your child.
Unfortunately, not every US state allows a third parent adoption just yet. The states that do offer this are:
An example of third parent adoption would look like this: a woman gives birth to a baby, making her and the father parents. However, if the mother was married to another person, the third party could adopt the child and gain all of the same rights that the biological parents have.
If you are thinking about going down the third parent adoption route, we would advise you to focus more on the marriage commitment between two of the parents and less on the polyamous relationship that you are in.
If you don’t want to go the third parent adoption route, or can’t due to the state that you’re living in, another option is a co-parenting agreement. This is a formal document that includes details on any vulnerable situation that might arise in a polyamorous relationship.
These situations can include financial contributions, co-parenting responsibilities, medical and legal decisions for the child and who’s making them, methods of resolving disagreements, and what will happen should the relationship end.
The co-parenting agreement is a legal contract between the polyamorous adults to ensure that every decision is accounted for. They are drawn up to ensure that the wellbeing of the child is always protected and that their best interests are at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Not only are co-parenting agreements good for protecting your rights, but they’re also beneficial for getting all of the adult’s views on things. The parents are able to get everything out in the open and settle any disagreements there and then before they start a big problem.
Family insurance is a legal form of paperwork that ensures the security and stability of your family. Having your family dynamic written down in legal documents helps to solidify your rights to give you peace of mind.
However, family insurance costs a lot of time and money that you shouldn’t have to spend. So, you don’t have to go down this route, although the peace of mind for your family might be worth it.
Polyamorous families deserve the same rights as two-parent families, but unfortunately they need to work more to get them. Should anything go south in the relationship, it is incredibly important for non-biological parents to protect their rights.
You can do this in a number of ways, with the most common being third parent adoption, family insurance, and co-parenting arguments. These are all effective ways to protect your rights in a polyamorous relationship. Hopefully you won’t need it, but it pays to be proactive.