Imagine this scenario: You and your husband are married and have a child named Jane. Five years into the marriage, your husband leaves and moves in with Nancy, his new girlfriend. He files for divorce and gains joint custody of Jane. Your husband and Nancy live together for three years, but never marry. Nancy assumes a number of parental responsibilities, including providing childcare for Jane. Your now ex-husband and Nancy split up, but Nancy misses Jane. She goes to court and gets joint custody over the objections of both you and your ex-husband.
This scenario highlights the illogical and inevitable consequences that are already arising from the introduction of a new legal attempt to water-down parental rights. Called the De Facto Parenting Doctrine, a growing number of states, through judicial or legislative action, are allowing third parties to obtain joint custody or visitation rights of children over the objection of fit natural parents. Americans may brush this off as another issue that does not affect them—but it does. This move by government affects all parents. This power-grab by the State treats children as property to be parceled off to claimants. It defines parenthood not by biology, marriage, or adoption, but by “relationships,” and pits natural parents’ rights against third parties. It gives the government the right to decide who is a parent and who is entitled to custody of children.
Simply stated, government control over custody of children will destroy the family, unravel the institution of marriage, hurt children, and lead to the destruction of freedom for all Americans.