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New York Judge Gives Custody of Child to 1 Dad and 2 ‘Moms’ in ‘Tri-Custody’ Agreement

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A courtroom gavel is seen in a file photo. (Credit: Brian A. Jackson/Thinkstock)

A courtroom gavel is seen in a file photo. (Credit: Brian A. Jackson/Thinkstock)

An unconventional family produced a child before becoming tangled in a lengthy custody battle that ended last week when a New York judge awarded shared custody of the boy to his dad and two “mothers.”

The boy in the case is the biological child of a man and one of his neighbors. Both the man and his wife had a longstanding, intimate relationship with the birth mother, according to court documents.

The father, identified as Michael M., and his wife, Dawn M., had struggled to become pregnant. Dawn M. had suffered a miscarriage before the couple met the neighbor, identified as Audria. The three later began to “engage in intimate relations,” the records state.

They considered themselves a family for years, and planned to raise a child together, attorney Karen Silverman said. Audria eventually gave birth to a boy. But around a year after he was born, she and Dawn left the home they shared with Michael — and moved in together. They took the child with them. Dawn and Michael filed for divorce in 2011, Silverman said.

The case marked the first such custody agreement in New York, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported, citing the New York Law Journal.

Judge: Boy loves his father ‘and two mothers’

The 10-year-old boy now primarily lives with the two women, according to Silverman, who represented Dawn in the divorce and custody dispute. Dawn wanted to have legal rights as a parent, even if she is not a biological one, Silverman said.

Audria was in favor of the “tri-custody” agreement but Michael was not, according to court documents.

Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge Patrick Leis III took the unusual step of awarding shared custody rights to both biological parents and Dawn. In his written opinion, the judge said the agreement was critical to the child’s well-being, because the child thinks of both Audria and Dawn as his mothers.

“(He) is a well adjusted 10-year-old boy who loves his father and his two mothers,” Leis wrote.

“To order anything other than joint custody could potentially facilitate the plaintiff’s removal from (the boy’s) life and that would have a devastating consequence to this child.”

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