Anthony Brown

Dear Anthony: I’m a “known donor” but not a legal parent to my child. Does the fact that I’m not a legal parent affect the availability of tax breaks if I’m providing financial support?

If you have surrendered your parental rights, or if they have been terminated, you are not entitled to claim the child under 26 U.S.C. Section 152 as a dependent.  One requirement for a parent to claim their child as a dependent is that they have resided with the child for at least one half of the taxable year in question.  This may rule out the claim from the beginning if you do not live with your child  However, while the strict language of the statute mandates that the dependent be a “child” of the taxpayer, if you have surrendered your parental rights, you no longer have the necessary legal relationship to make the dependent claim.

If you have not surrendered your parental rights, and you meet the joint residency requirements, the child would be considered the qualifying child of the parent with whom the child has lived for the longest during the qualifying year or, if you live with the other parent, the parent who has the higher adjusted gross income.  You may, however, be entitled to take a state deduction for contributions made to certain college savings plans, such as a 529 plan.



Dear Michael: I am now 35 and want to find a parent partner before having a child. Is now a good time to freeze my eggs until I meet him? Or can I wait a few more years?

Age is certainly one factor that can be used to predict the likelihood of achieving pregnancy both now and in the future. But there are others as well, including your pregnancy history (if you have one) , your current cycle ( how regular your ovulation is) and specific medical screening tests that can be used to predict your “ovarian reserve” (like FSH level and antral follicle count).

Bill Singer, Esq.

I’ve recently heard the term “de facto parent” used where a court found someone to be a parent later on in a child’s life. How does this work?

In modern family life, there are many examples where more than two adults can function as a child’s parent. While this has historically happened after divorce and remarriage with a step-parent, the rise of parenting partnerships has also created situations where a child may receive love, care and attention from multiple parenting figures.

Despite the proliferation of instances of multiple adults acting as parents, the law is only starting to get up to speed in recognizing these family situations. Some courts have developed the concept of a “de facto” or “psychological” parent recognizing that a third adult may also be entitled to the rights and responsibilities as a parent.

In Delaware, for example, the legislature passed a “de facto” parent law establishing that a person who meets certain qualifications will be considered a parent. The California legislature is now considering legislation which would recognize an additional adult as a parent under certain conditions.

Generally for an additional adult to be considered a parent, three criteria need to be met:

1)     The relationship between the de facto parent and the child must have been created with the consent and support of the other parent or parents;

2)     The de facto parent must have exercised parental responsibility for the child; and

3)     The de facto parent must have acted in that role for a sufficient amount of time so that a parent-child bond was established.

Once those criteria are met, the de facto parent is legally seen as an equal parent with all of the resulting rights and responsibilities.

Susan May

Dear Susan: What’s the biggest benefit to living together with your parenting partner?

Our daughter has the benefit of BOTH of us, right at her fingertips! Co-living gives us the flexibility to make late plans, and best of all: saves on baby-sitting (we haven’t used a baby-sitter since she was 2 years old)!

Tim Croneberger

Dear Tim: Is your co-parenting schedule consistent, or does it vary depending on your co-parents’ needs?

Every co-parenting relationship will be different but for us, its a really fluid, ever changing schedule based on the three parents’ availability and needs.  Heather and Abbie are incredibly responsive to my needs- when I miss the kids and want to come for dinner or take Tommy for the afternoon to the park and to lunch,  they always make it happen- without fail.  They also ask me to babysit for them which I love doing- being able to read Tommy a book and put him to bed.

Spending one on one time with both of them is really special for me.  We always have our “Dadurdays”- days that Tommy and I spend together.  Sometimes they are overnights and sometimes its just for the day, but they are the most valuable time.  Soon Teo and I will have those times as well.  I think right now its really important to give Tommy some special attention as he navigates his role as big brother.  It’s tough for a 5 year old to suddenly not be the center of everyone’s universe so I’ve made sure that he knows there are times that are just for he and Daddy.  Bottom line is that it’s imperative that there is open communication when it comes to scheduling.  And being respectful of one another’s schedules, needs and wants.  So far this has worked out really well for us.


Am I more likely to become pregnant by going the “natural insemination” method – sexual intercourse – with my co-parent, as compared to the “home insemination” method with a cup and a syringe?

Whether (and when) you become pregnant is more likely going to be determined by the relative fertility of the man and woman attempting to conceive  than whether the sperm is “introduced” through intercourse or a home insemination.