Unique circumstances can arise in family law courts — circumstances that the current laws and regulations don’t speak clearly about. Take the recent case in New York that involved a baby born out of a threesome, for example.

A married couple was living upstairs from a woman whom they later brought into their relationship. The three of them began to engage in sexual relations together and the woman downstairs moved in with the couple. Next, they decided to have a baby together.

Adding a baby to a “threesome” relationship creates a child custody concern

The trio thought it out completely how they would plan the parenting of their child before he was conceived, and that they would raise the child together as three parents. The husband fathered the boy, and the downstairs neighbor was the one who would become pregnant. The wife was infertile. The wife attended doctors’ appointments with the pregnant mother, took turns waking up in the night to feed the baby.

The relationship among the three people went well until the two women decided to split away from the father and become a twosome. They moved out of the apartment to their own home together. The father sued the mother for child custody, and the wife sued the father for divorce.

Wife left out of the child custody equation

As the end result of the litigation, the father and the mother established a joint custody agreement, but the wife didn’t receive anything except her divorce. Since she was not an adoptive mom or a biological mom, she didn’t have any legal custody rights to the boy.

The wife sued to get custody rights because she was worried that her ability to be in the child’s life would depend on consent from the parents. In a landmark ruling, the judge awarded “tri-custody,” awarding the mother and father shared physical custody and the wife visitation rights.

A similar case was tried in New Jersey

A similar case was tried in New Jersey in 2015. The parents were a straight woman and a same-sex male couple. In that case, the court awarded all three parents tri-custody as well.

The most important aspect of tri-custody parenting cases relates to the best interests of a child. Since courts tend to hold the best interests of a child as the basis for their decisions, if the child has grown up knowing three people to be his or her parents, then a court may rule that it’s in the best interest of the child to maintain this parenting dynamic.