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Non-traditional families created via parenting partnership sites

While many families in the Houston area still consist of two biological parents and their children, more and more people are choosing to have children as single parents or in same-sex partnerships. Family law matters can become quite complex with regard to non-traditional families, simply because of the lack of legal precedents created to accommodate various situations.

According to reports, an increasing number of single individuals who want to have children outside a romantic relationship are turning to co-parenting -- or parenting partnership -- websites. These sites exist to match people who want to raise a child in a platonic partnership with another person, rather than as a single parent.

One gay man, who wanted to be a father, exchanged many emails and spoke on the phone many times with the mother of his now 2-year-old daughter. The adults even attended couples counseling together before deciding to go forward with their plans.

The laws that may apply to certain circumstances vary from state to state. For example, in certain jurisdictions, courts have tried to make sperm donors pay child support, while in other localities there exist laws that prevent such actions. Naturally, the legal status of a biological father will vary depending on the arrangement made with the child's biological mother and other involved parties.

When two or more people decide that they want to raise a child in a non-traditional setting, they may run into legal difficulties if they are not aware of their rights and the rights of their children. Family law issues in these situations can be complicated by the lack of an enforceable written agreement between the parties. It is in the best interests of the parents as well as their children to obtain as much information as possible about their legal options before embarking down the path less traveled.

Source: The New York Times, "Making a Child, Minus the Couple," Abby Ellin, Feb. 8, 2013

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