California Family Law Firm Explains the Three Legal Categories of "Parent"

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California family law firm Schuster Family Law explains the three legal categories of "parent" and their importance. These categories are: legal parent but not the biological parent; biological parent but not the legal parent; and the "de facto" parent.

California family law firm Schuster Family Law explains the three legal categories of "parent," helping the non-lawyer to understand these important distinctions.

"Ordinarily a parent is both the legal and biological parent of a child," says Dennis Schuster, founder of Schuster Family Law. "But there are many circumstances when this is not the case, in the eyes of the law."

Schuster describes the three separate categories as: legal parent but not the biological parent; biological parent but not the legal parent; and the "de facto" parent.

Legal parent but not the biological parent- There are times when an individual can be the legal parent of a child but not the biological parent. "This most obvious time is when an adult adopts a child who is not the biological parent," said Schuster.

Biological parent but not the legal parent- There are times when you are a biological parent but not a legal parent. "This is when a parent voluntarily gives up his or her right to a third party in an adoption or custody proceeding," said Schuster.

"De facto" parent - "Here's where it can get a little complicated," said Schuster. "If an adult identifies himself or herself as the parent of a minor child, even though he or she is neither the legal nor the biological parent -- but the child believes him or her to be the parent, bonding as such - then the court will treat that adult as the legal, or 'de facto' parent, meaning "parent of fact."

Schuster explains why there is such a category as "de facto" parent. He said that since the courts say that children are not "pets," to provide amusement for adults and then discarded at whim, then that parent-child bond is not to be taken lightly.

In fact, says Schuster, the courts take the parent-child bond so seriously that the adult who identifies himself or herself as "parent" can be taken to court and either charged with child support or awarded custody.

About Schuster Family Law

Schuster Family Law is a California family law firm that handles divorce and adoption cases. Schuster is also developing a unique niche in representing parents whose children need special education. For more information, visit: http://www.schusterfamilylaw.com

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Stephanie Labadie
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