A Long Island couple and a neighbor with whom they had a threesome have been granted “tri-custody” of their 10-year-old son in a groundbreaking ruling.

Dawn and Michael Marano got married in 1994 and had a relatively conventional marriage until 2001, when they met their downstairs neighbor, Audria Garcia.  Shortly after meeting the Maranos, Garcia moved in with them upstairs and, according to court documents, began to engage in intimate relations with the couple.  Some years later, after it was discovered that Mrs. Marano could not have children, they decided that Mr. Marano would conceive a child with Garcia, and that all three of them would raise the child together as parents.

On January 25, 2007, Garcia gave birth to a baby boy and following his birth, the threesome continued to live in harmony for the next 18 months.  It was at this point however, that Mrs. Marano and Garcia concluded that three was, in fact, a crowd, and decided to cut Mr. Marano loose.  They moved out of the home they had shared with Mr. Marano.  Mr. Marano sued Garcia for custody of their son and Mrs. Marano then sued Mr. Marano for divorce.

Mr. Marano and Garcia ultimately agreed to joint custody of the boy, but this made Mrs. Marano feel left out.  Mrs. Marano, who was not the child’s biological nor adoptive mother, feared that her ability to remain in the boy’s life would be entirely dependent upon the consent of Garcia or Mr. Marano.  As a result, Mrs. Marano filed to secure custody rights and after her custody bid was opposed by Mr. Marano, the matter went to trial.

The ruling in the first-of-its-kind case was entered earlier this year by Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge H. Patrick Leis III.  In awarding Mrs. Marano shared custody, along with Mr. Marano and Garcia, Judge Leis cited a ruling from New York’s highest court entered last summer which allowed non-biological or adoptive parents to seek custody in cases where they had a prior relationship with the child.

Porch picture 1 1

If you have any questions about establishing your child’s legal parentage or about third party custody rights, please contact LaMonaca Law at (610) 892-3877.

About the author

About Jennifer Lemanowicz

Jennifer attended College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, before being awarded a Merit Scholarship to Widener University School of Law. Following law school, Jennifer worked for a general practice firm where she gained experience in a variety of legal areas, including family law, non-profit law, and estate planning and administration. Jennifer joined LaMonaca Law as an associate in 2015, and concentrates her practice on matters of family law, including all aspects of divorce, support and custody proceedings. Jennifer is a whiz with a spreadsheet and is a member of the firm’s Forensic Support Team, which specializes in cases involving high value assets or complex marital estates. Jennifer is a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, as well as the Montgomery County and Delaware County Bar Associations, and she was recently recognized as a “Best Lawyer” by the Delaware County Daily Times. Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys listening to true crime podcasts, going out to eat with friends, and spending time with her family.