File photo. (Pixabay)

File photo. (Pixabay)

B.C. judge rules that 2nd mom should be 3rd legal parent in polyamorous family

All three adults have lived together in a committed relationship since 2017

Editor’s note: The names used here are not the individuals’ real names and were provided by the court.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has added a third parent for a child that already has a mother and father.

Justice Sandra Wilkinson made the decision Friday to allow Eliza and Bill, who are the biological parents of Clarke, 2, to add Olivia, their third partner, to the child’s birth certificate as a legal parent.

According to court documents, Eliza and Bill have lived together and been partners since the early 2000s. They met Olivia in 2013 and began a romantic relationship with her in 2016, and she moved in a year later.

“The petitioners are in a relationship known in the polyamory community as a triad,’” Wilkinson stated. “As the petitioners explain, to them this means that they each have a relationship with one another and each of their relationships with each other are considered equal.”

Court documents state that while it’s unclear if all three people were committed to the idea of Olivia being a “full parent” prior to Eliza’s pregnancy, at some point during the nine months all three agreed she would be fully involved. The judge said that Olivia had a “very active role” in preparing for the child’s birth, including inducing lactation so she could breastfeed.

“In fact, Olivia was the first parent to feed Clarke after he was born,” Wilkinson stated. Olivia also took four weeks off, unpaid, to be with the baby and family after birth.

WIlkinson noted that by all accounts, the triad has been living life like any other family; sharing parental duties, taking trips together, visiting all three families and adjusting their parenting due to the impact of COVID-19.

“It is not disputed that Clarke is being raised by three loving, caring, and extremely capable individuals,” Wilkinson stated. “Unlike many family law matters which come before the court, this is not an instance of family members taking adverse positions. The petitioners are in agreement that Olivia should be recognized as Clarke’s legal parent, alongside Eliza and Bill.”

The family found themselves before the court because the Family Law Act does not allow for a third parent to be legally added, “unless that child is conceived using assisted reproduction.” Clarke was conceived naturally.

Wilkinson did not agree with B.C.’s Attorney General, who had said that Olivia being declared the child’s guardian would achieve what the family wanted.

“There are clear and tangible differences between being a parent and being a guardian, evidenced, in part, by the legislature’s decision to distinguish between these two roles with separate designations,” she stated. “A parentage declaration is also a symbolic recognition of a parent-child relationship. This difference should not be minimized.”

Wilkinson she would “declare that Olivia is Clarke’s legal parent, alongside Eliza and Bill, and that his birth registration be amended accordingly by the Vital Statistics Agency.”

ALSO READ: Vancouver Island man’s $32-trillion lawsuit thrown out by B.C. Supreme Court


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Parenting

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey is one of four athletes being inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame this year. Here, she is pictured with her mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
Four new names added to Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame

Matt Pettinger, Gwen Spencer Hethey, Peter Lawless and Roger Skillings being inducted

The District of Saanich is accepting nominations for the 2021 Environmental Awards until June 1 at 4 p.m. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Nominations now open for Saanich’s 21st annual Environmental Awards

Awards recognize individuals and organizations making Saanich more sustainable

Rotary Club of Victoria-Harbourside president Angus Macpherson visited the Wear2Start Society boutique in Victoria to present a cheque to the society’s vice-president Alessandra Ringstad (left) and president Angela Mangiacasale. (Courtesy of Wear2Start)
Rotary club donates over $11,000 to Greater Victoria non-profit for women

Wear2Start Society provides clothing for women in need

Adrienne Rogers (LPN) and Tracy McConnell (RN) on the Victoria Hospice Unit. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Hospice)
Victoria Hospice bereavement counsellors dealing with a tsunami of grief

Last year, Victoria Hospice provided end-of-life care to more than 1,000 people

Paddles sit stacked and ready at a rowing regatta on Elk Lake in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria junior girls rowing team nabs first in national Row to Tokyo challenge

Young Victoria City Rowing Club members row more than 2,250 km

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Most Read