In Re Parental Responsibilities of M.W., a Child, and Concerning Shane Taylor v. Trista Wamsher and Edward Day 2012COA162 (September 27, 2012)

“Modern Family,” “The New Normal” and “Parenthood” show unique circumstances involving relationships between children and non-biological parents. So does this case. Mother’s former boyfriend becomes the psychological parent of mother’s child. After they break up, biological father shows up. After a hearing to allocate parental responsibilities, the trial court found: 1) parents were fit and would make decisions in the child’s best interest, 2) boyfriend had standing, and 3) there were unique circumstances, but boyfriend could not be awarded any parental responsibility. The court of appeals reversed. Nonparents are not required to show that parents are unfit. Rather, a trial court may, under Troxel v. Granville, allocate parental responsibility to a nonparent who has standing, can show unique circumstances, and that it would be in the best interests of the child.


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