STATE OF OPPORTUNITY. Can Kids in Michigan Get Ahead?
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This special reporting project wrapped up in May 2017. Read more.

How many parents does a kid need? How about three?

Lorianne DiSabato

Former State of Opportunity intern extraordinaire Gabrielle Emanuel recently did a story for NPR that resonates with events in Michigan. Emanuel takes a look at states that provide options for families with more than two parents involved in a child's upbringing.

According to Emanuel, it's possible for a child to have more than two legal parents in about 10 states. 

Michigan is not one of them. 

A child in Michigan can have up to two legal parents. This has implications for the children of same-sex couples, of course. But it also impacts kids with divorced parents who remarry. Step-parents don't often face the same kind of discrimination as gay parents, but legally they're in the same boat. 

Michigan is busy fighting the expansion of parental rights to same-sex adoptive couples. In this environment it seems any movement towards three parent families would be unlikely. 

But as Emanuel points out, these state laws don't necessarily have anything to do with same-sex marriage. The first state to allow for three legal parents thirty years ago was Louisiana. That decision was all about child support. 

Check out her storyand hear what some of the parents, experts, and most importantly the kids involved have to say about how the law should reflect modern parenting arrangements.