On January 7, the Paris court issued two judgments that could cause a lot of ink to flow, since they open up the highly thorny debate on the possible recognition of families with multiple parents. The family affairs judge has, in fact, validated a request for delegation sharing of parental authority between four adults. The lawyer Caroline Mécary, who represented the two couples present, thus greeted, on February 1 on Twitter, a “first”, and “one more step towards multi-parenting”.
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The facts concern a couple of gay men and a couple of lesbian women, friends, who had two children together. Thus, one of the men had a child with one of the women; the other man had a child with the other woman. Since their birth, which goes back several years, the two children have been raised by these four adults.
However, from the point of view of adults, this voluntary organization comes up against concrete difficulties. The spouses of each parent have no legal status vis-à-vis the child and therefore cannot exercise parental authority over him. For example, they cannot accompany him to the hospital.
“The adults knew how to take into consideration the needs of the children”
In order to remedy this, the Paris court, on the positive opinion of the public prosecutor, accepted a delegation sharing of parental authority in two concurrent judgments (one for each child), rendered on January 7.
In the decision concerning the youngest child, which The cross was able to consult, the family court judge justifies his decision by the fact that“It emerges from the documents produced and the debates that (the adults) built a four-way parenting project. (…) That they were able to take into account the needs (children) according to their age, (…) that they have had a parental agreement approved (…)and that they have de facto parental authority over the child together since birth (…); that their exchanges are obviously harmonious (…). »
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Caroline Mécary therefore sees it as a victory for homosexual parents who thus conceive children with friends of the opposite sex, and one more step towards the recognition of multi-parenting. “The delegates of parental authority do not become parents, she adds. Parentage can be established later, when the child turns 18, through simple adoption. »
A possible revolution
According to lawyer Laure de Saint-Pern, lecturer in private law at the University of Paris, “This kind of decision is, in fact, far from revolutionary. Shared delegations of parental authority are very common among heterosexual blended families. » When the mother and the father of a child rebuild their lives on their own, they can indeed ask that the step-parent benefit from such a shared delegation, which is generally granted.
“Faced with this kind of request, the judge is content to not create new family conflicts. He therefore makes sure that everyone is in agreement with such an arrangement and, if so, he grants it”, explains the lawyer. The same type of analysis prevailed in this case, unsurprisingly.
A state of affairs that has consequences
The revolution is elsewhere, for Laure Saint-Pern. Because this decision, after all quite usual, of the judges in family affairs applies here in the particular context of a double delegation of parental authority. “It results in each child having two parents and two adults who behave as such. However, creating this state of affairs will perhaps not remain without consequences”, foresees Laure de Saint-Pern. One can fear in the long term, according to her, that the LGBT associations claim a modification in the filiation of the child.
A concern that she bases in particular on several court decisions rendered around 2010. “The judges then acted on the delegation sharing parental authority within a lesbian couple, between the mother and her concubine who behaved like a parent towards the child, exercising the same rights and duties. LGBT associations argued that, from then on, she should also be considered as a full-fledged mother. Emphasizing the fragility of the delegation of authority which “falls” in the event of the death of the biological parent. » This reasoning had led, at the time, to the opening of adoption to same-sex couples.