NEW YORK — A New York judge has awarded tri-custody to a former couple and their neighbor, who they entered into a “polyamorous” relationship with over a decade ago.
“Tri-custody is the logical evolution of the Court of Appeals decision in Brooke S.B., and the passage of the Marriage Equality Act and DRL [Domestic Relations Law] §10-a which permits same-sex couples to marry in New York,” Suffolk County Supreme Court Judge Patrick Leis III wrote.
According to reports, in 2001, Michael and Dawn Marano began as friends to neighbor Audria Garcia, who was living with her boyfriend at the time. But when Garcia split with her significant other, she moved in with the Maranos, where she began to engage in “intimate relations” with both of them.
In 2006, Garcia became pregnant with Michael Marano’s child—an agreement made between the three since Dawn Marano was infertile—and they all raised the boy together. However, in 2008, Dawn Marano left her husband to solely be in a relationship with Garcia.
The development prompted Michael Marano to file for custody of his son, and Garcia soon agreed to joint custody. However, Dawn Marano, who divorced her husband for Garcia, then also sued him “because she fears that without court-ordered visitation and shared custody, her ability to remain in [the boy’s] life would be solely dependent upon obtaining the consent of either Audria or [Michael].”
Michael Marano opposed his wife’s efforts to obtain joint custody of the child.
The matter went to trial, and the boy told the court that he has “two mommies,” and that he tells them apart as being the “mommy with the orange truck” and the “mommy with the gray truck.”
On Wednesday, Judge Leis granted custody to all three, opining that it was in the child’s “best interests” to also keep Dawn Marano in his life.
“J.M. considers both plaintiff and Audria to be equal ‘mommies’ and that he would be devastated if he were not able to see plaintiff,” he wrote. “The interview with J.M. also clearly shows that he enjoys his present living situation and would not want it altered in any way.”
“J.M.’s best interests cry out for an assurance that he will be allowed a continued relationship with plaintiff,” Leis stated. “No one told these three people to create this unique relationship. Nor did anyone tell defendant to conceive a child with his wife’s best friend or to raise that child knowing two women as his mother.”
He said that granting tri-custody was the “logical evolution” after the state approved of same-sex “marriage” in 2011, as well as a 2016 ruling expanding custody rights for unmarried couples.
While the women state that they are pleased with the ruling, Michael Marano told the New York Post that he plans to appeal.
19th century statesman Daniel Webster, who held office both in the House and Senate, once said, “If the power of the gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end.”