Guest Chris Deaton, above.

Show Topic: Polyamory

This show aired on August 6, 2017. It was hosted by attorney David Enevoldsen, a partner with the law firm Family Law Guys. Chris Deaton appeared as a guest on the show. The two discussed what polyamory is, the distinction between polyamory and swinging, different polyamorous relationships, how polyamorous relationships deal with time management, how they deal with child rearing, some current legal developments in the world of polyamory, and whether or not polyamory makes sense in a damaged relationship.

Guest Information

Chris Deaton is the leader of the Arizona Chapter of Loving More, a 501(c)3 non-profit charity focused on education, support, and the normalization of polyamory. Chris can be contacted through https://www.facebook.com/groups/lovemoreaz/ or www.polyamory.education.


Headlines on this show looked at the Senate in Haiti’s approval of a bill to ban homosexuality and protests related to support for homosexuality, the United Nation’s issuance of a ruling criticizing Australia’s lack of access to divorce services for same-sex married partners, and Tiara Lycans request for Alabama judge Shaunathan Bell to recuse himself from her divorce case because he is a Christian pastor that has made statements against homosexuality and Lycans identifies herself as lesbian.


Announcer:                    “Family Law Report” is hosted by Family Law Guys, an Arizona family law firm. “Family Law Report” is dedicated to confronting difficult issues related to marriage, divorce and children. This can range everywhere from addressing the legalities and controversies of topics like gay marriage to current faults in the divorce system to simply providing tips to those getting married or going through a divorce or custody fight.

                                    Tune in every Sunday to “Family Law Report” at noon here on KFNX. If you want to know more or to schedule an appointment with David or another one of the Family Law Guys attorneys, call 480-565-8680. That’s 480-565-8680.

Announcer:                    The discussions and information provided in “Family Law Report” are intended to be general in nature and are not directed for any individual circumstances. No attorney client relationship is being formed through this program. If you need legal advice, your particular circumstances can vary from what is presented here and you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed to practice in your state.

Announcer:                  Welcome to the “Family Law Report”, the show that explores issues related to marriage, divorce and children. Hosted by David Enevoldsen, a practicing Family Law Attorney in Arizona. Now here’s your host.

David Enevoldsen         Hello, everybody. Welcome to “Family Law Report.” I am your host David Enevoldsen here with you every Sunday at noon on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX.

                                    Here on “Family Law Report,” we talk about all the current topics of family law and that can range from what’s happening in the political arena to just basics like how to work through the nuts and bolts of a divorce.

                                    I’m a practicing attorney and I work in the area of, of course, family law and when I say family law, I mean anything related to marriage, divorce, fights over custody of children, prenuptial agreements, child support issues, grandparents rights, anything like that.

                                    I’m a partner at a law firm here in Arizona called Family Law Guys and we focus primarily on ensuring that divorcing parents don’t get screwed out of time with their children. We have offices in the Phoenix area and if you have a family court issue, I just want to underscore that there are a wide range of traps that can happen in your case. Many of those are the subject of the show. It’s stuff that we talk about all the time, but just I want to underscore that family law can be a very dangerous place. I have seen cases where people have completely lost their children. I have seen situations where people have had massive child support or alimony payments in monthly amounts. I’ve seen people walk out with tens of thousands of dollars in judgements for back support or equalization payments or attorney’s fees. I’ve seen people dragged out of courtrooms in handcuffs and thrown in jail over child support issues. There’s a whole lot of stuff that can happen that can be devastating in a family court case.

                                    My point of this whole thing is that you need to educate. If you are dealing with any sort of a family court issue, educate yourself. And even if that is not … You can’t afford an attorney, you don’t have the ability to get representation, at the bare minimum, see if you can talk to somebody that is an attorney. Even pay for an hour consultation and just make sure you know your basic rights and obligations, or have an understanding of what you’re dealing with.

                                    Now, of course, you can contact my firm. You don’t necessarily have to do that. Find somebody that you’re comfortable with, you can deal with. But if you want to contact us, we don’t practice outside of the state of Arizona, but you can reach us, schedule an appointment, by calling 480-565-8680, or you can visit us on our website at www.familylawguys.com.

                                    Today, I have a guest with me, Chris Deaton. Thank you for being on.

Chris Deaton:               Thank you for having me.

David Enevoldsen         And you’ve brought along … Speak a little closer in your mic there. You brought with you, who?

Chris Deaton:               Alicia. It’s my girlfriend.

David Enevoldsen         Alright. Today we’re going to be talking about polyamory. This is going to be a super interesting topic to me. Before we get into that, I’m going to hit our basic headlines, and in headlines we usually … Thank you for being here, too, I didn’t say that.

Alicia:                           You’re welcome.

David Enevoldsen         First, we’re going to hit the headlines, and headlines we usually cover anything in the press that is related to family law. Several things have been going on lately, particularly in the homosexual front, the gay marriage front, the homosexual front. There’s been a lot of stuff hitting the press in the past few months and it’s kind of weird because it seemed like there was just a lot of silence on this basic topic for a little while and just all of a sudden everything’s been blowing up.

                                    We’ve seen several things going down recently. We’ve seen … Of course, a couple years ago, there was the Obergefell decision in the US in 2015, which legalized gay marriage in the US. Just a couple weeks ago, we saw that Germany had legalized gay marriage, so there’s been lots of stuff going down. Now in the opposite, everybody seems to be polarizing a ton.

                                    On the opposite end of the spectrum, we’ve seen Haiti this week. This week the Senate in Haiti passed a bill related to homosexuality and basically what it says was it was super anti-homosexual in this whole thing. The bill still hasn’t been approved yet. It still has to get approval from the lower house before it can actually be enacted, but it had a pretty sweeping acceptance in the senate in Haiti.

                                    If it’s passed it would, number one, prohibit same-sex marriage, but not just that, it would also prohibit an attempt to marry. It would also prohibit simply demonstrating publicly in favor of homosexuality. So if you’re just out saying, “I think homosexuals should have the right to marry,” or even if you simply say, “I think homosexuals should be allowed to do their thing,” you are now subject to a criminal action here. On top of that, it even prohibits foreigners from coming in and celebrating a same-sex marriage that was recognized under a different jurisdictions law. Haiti clearly means business.

Alicia:                           Wow.

David Enevoldsen         They’re …

Chris Deaton:               They’re not a fan.

David Enevoldsen         And we’ve seen a couple other countries recently. We had some headlines in the past couple shows where we were talking about the opposite end of the spectrum. If feels like everything’s becoming extremely polarized to me, in terms of the homosexual front, all around the planet. We’re getting several countries that seem to be enacting same-sex marriage legality, but then at the same time, we’ve got people that seem to be doubling down on homosexual acts are criminal or even hear protesting saying homosexuality should be legalized or should be acceptable is being attacked.

                                    Just something I’ve mentioned in past several shows, there’s a lot of places in the world where it is still a criminal act to engage in a homosexual act. There are places where … These are articles we’ve had in some past shows, where you can … simply engage in intercourse with a same-sex partner and you are now a criminal. You can be arrested, thrown in prison, for doing that. I’m still fascinated by the way this continues to unfold. I’m very interested in the way this is polarized.

                                    This kind of leads into the next article here, again, dealing with this polarization that’s going on around the planet. In Australia, so as a background on this, Australian law does not recognize the validity of same-sex marriage. This week the UN criticized Australia related to its position on this whole thing.

                                    What happened is … and to me this is very similar to a problem we were running in in the US before the US decision in Obergefell to recognize the validity of the same-sex marriage. What was happening back then was we had a mix of states, some of the states were saying, “We are allowing same-sex marriage.” Some states were saying, “No, we’re prohibiting it.” Arizona was one of the ones that said, “We’re prohibiting it.”

                                    The situation we kept running into was a same sex couple would go to a state where it’s recognized. They would get married and then go to a state where it is not recognized. Now they would have residency jurisdiction in the state where it’s not recognized, but they’ve got this marriage certificate out there from this other state. Now if things fall apart, and they suddenly want to get a divorce, they couldn’t do it because they’re in this state. The only place they could do it was to go into the state where they’ve got residency and jurisdiction, but that state is saying, “No, we don’t recognize you, because this marriage doesn’t even exist.”

                                    Now you’re in this really bizarre situation, in limbo where you don’t even know what to do with it. Now, of course, the Obergefell decision in the US dealt with that because they said, “Okay, everybody’s got to recognize the same-sex marriage.” But it raised a lot of really bizarre questions for me like, “Are you suddenly now a felon?” Because in many states, you couldn’t be married to multiple people at the same time. If you’re same-sex marriage falls apart and then you go get married to somebody else, say a same-sex partner, are you suddenly a felon because you’re engaged in two different marriages? There was a lot of bizarre questions that were raised like that. How do you deal with the property issue, stuff like that?

                                    Australia is now running into the exact same problem because they don’t recognize gay marriage. They’ve got the same basic issue. If somebody gets married in a different country to a same-sex partner and then shows up in Australia that person’s basically stuck because you can’t run off unless you’re physically just moving and just setting up camp in a different country where they are recognizing same-sex marriage, you can’t deal with all the property issues or the child issues that are – maybe the child issues – but you can’t deal with all the property issues that are attended to divorce. You can’t get the change in status.

                                    This all started with a woman named Fiona Campbell who had entered into a same-sex marriage in Canada. Apparently, I didn’t know this, but I guess Canada’s recognizing the same-sex marriages. Then she’s now, however, in Australia and has been there for a while, as well as, her spouse. She tried to get a divorce. Of course, wasn’t able to because Australia’s saying, “Your marriage doesn’t even exist, so we’re not recognizing that.”

                                    She went to the UN. The UN … I think this all spawned from back in 2012. I think this is when the whole thing started, but she approached the UN and the UN did their thing. They issued a ruling basically saying that Australia has violated equal protection by not recognizing her ability to go get divorce.

                                    In the ruling, I’ve got a quote from the ruling here, it says, “In the absence of more convincing explanations from the State party, the Committee considers that the differentiation of treatment based on her sexual orientation to which the author is subjected regarding access to divorce proceedings is not based on reasonable and objective criteria and therefore constitutes discrimination under article 26 of the Covenant.”

                                    The UN is, of course, criticizing Australia. I don’t know that that has any binding effect on anything ’cause it doesn’t seem like that usually happens with the UN, but to me this is another interesting reflection of the tension … occurring globally over the same-sex marriage and homosexual issues everywhere.

                                    One more article I’ll quickly hit before we jump over to the break, which is also dealing with the same-sex stuff. There was a divorce going on. A lesbian mother, Tiara Likens, Brooks Likens. She had a divorce going on in Alabama under judge, Jonathan Bell. Judge Bell had previously indicated that he was against homosexual relationships. In fact, he’s been a pastor for the last 15 years.

                                    Now Tiara, like I said, she’s a lesbian. She was in this lesbian relationship. She got a divorce from her husband and in front of him she asked the … No. In front of this judge, Judge Bell, she asked the judge to recuse himself. He refused. He, in fact, had issued her an equal parenting plan.

                                    This ended up going up to the court of appeals in Alabama and they said, “We’re not doing anything about this because there’s no indication that he’s doing anything wrong.” He had previous same-sex divorces in his case and had issued equal parenting plans in those. Everyone, the judge there, the court there was all saying, “This guy’s being fair to people in the same sex relationships so we’re not going to remove him.” I found this one an interesting one as well.

                                    All right. We’re going to take a quick break. I’m attorney David Enevoldsen with Family Law Guys. When we return, we’re going to be talking about polyamory with my guests. If you want to call in and ask any questions, you can do so by calling 602-277-KFNX. You are tuned into “Family Law Report” on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX.

David Enevoldsen         Welcome back to “Family Law Report.” I’m your host, David Enevoldsen, attorney with Family Law Guys, an Arizona law firm here with you every Sunday at noon on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX.

                                    If you want to reach out and schedule an appointment with myself or another attorney at my firm, Family Law Guys, you can do so by calling 480-565-8680. Or you can check us out at on our website at www.familylawguys.com.

                                    If you are listening and you want to call in and ask any questions or share thoughts, you can do so by calling 602-277-KFNX.

                                    Today, my guest, is Chris Deaton. Chris, if somebody wants to reach out and find out more about you or contact you, how would they do so?

Chris Deaton:               There’s a couple of ways. Polyamory.education is the website. You can get to me for there, due to some research projects I’m working on. You can also catch me on Facebook. The group is Loving More Arizona so it’s at facebook.com/groups/lovemoreaz.

David Enevoldsen         All right. Cool. We’ll eventually have that link up on our website on the podcast for this. Let’s dive into this. I’m going to skip the “Did you know?” for just ’cause I want to make sure we’ve got enough time to talk about this whole thing ’cause I find it super fascinating.

                                    Just to give you a little background here about Chris. I’m going to read off some bullet points related to you. He’s the leader of the Arizona chapter of Loving More, which is a 501-C3 non-profit charity. It’s focused on education, support and the normalization of polyamory. He’s also an interdisciplinary graduate student and he’s working on his second master’s degree right now. He’s doing some research. Is it okay to say that far? He’s doing some research focused on the perceptions of hierarchy and long-term polyamorous couples where he’s comparing the more egalitarian focused polyamorous community with the highly structured and hierarchal defined BDSM polyamorous community. That sounds like some really refined stuff.

                                    He’s also working on a better process to teach the concept of consent to young adults and college students through using BR and AI technologies and that sounds like it could be applicable to poly or monogamous

Chris Deaton:               All right. You name stance.

David Enevoldsen         He’s also in … Communication and consent are priorities in the world of consensual non-monogamy and polyamory. He’s under the impression that those communities have a lot to teach to the monogamous crowd. Is that all fair statements? And then you have two kids and a married girlfriend and no pets. Is that correct?

Chris Deaton:               That is totally correct.

David Enevoldsen         And is your married girlfriend with us today?

Chris Deaton:               Annette is there.

David Enevoldsen         Okay. She’s hiding over in the corner.

Alicia:                           Hi, there.

David Enevoldsen         I won’t make you say too much.

                                    All right. Tell me a little bit about your background. I gave the bullet point pitch here. Tell me where do you come from? What’s going on? Collaborate on this a little bit.

Chris Deaton:               Married for more than 20 years or I was. I am recently divorced, but I was married for more than 20 years. I was working on a research project that ended up sending me to Meetup and in Meetup … Meetup, if you’ve ever used it, it will suggest places or groups you think you might like.

                                    I found the polyamory group. This was about four years ago? I believe.

Alicia:                           four years.

Chris Deaton:               A little over four years ago. I understood what poly and -amory meant, that many in loves. I was curious. I went to the group. I’ve been a participant of that Meetup group now for the last five years and about, since we met them.

                                    It was just an understanding of “This is who I am and this is who I’ve always been.” I could look back; I still find revelations to this day. Things I hadn’t realized yet and past times in my life where there always was two people that I had a relationship with. One may be more serious than the other, but I think that was because social constructs made it that way; that I was limited in that. I think that if that had been the opportunity to have those multiple relationships at a younger age, it would’ve been a very fair case that would’ve been what happened.

                                    That got me interested in the community. That got me interested in looking at what does polyamory mean? What is it all about? I spent some time doing research on the economics and political side of things. I was looking at plural marriages in the interest of the state. There’s been a couple of really good academic books the last couple of years that have come out related to that. I spent some time doing that research, I guess a couple of semesters.

                                    Then the story I tell everybody. I accidentally ended up at a BDSM conference and what I found there was that that group, that community embraced polyamory in such a sense that they didn’t even talk about it. It just was. It just was the way they live life.

                                    I got interested in doing research in that and spent the last couple of years in that community, in both communities, trying to understand and asking a lot of questions. I’m currently in my semi-structured interview phase.

                                    In all of this, I met Loving More out of Denver. I believe we have about 35,000 members nationwide these days. Starting back in January, I picked up the helm to run the Arizona chapter, which was new here. We are working in conjunction with the Meetup group here in town. It’s Arizona polyamory events. That has about 1000 members. We have a good base of about 100 to 200 frequent events and the public Facebook group has grown to about 200 also, I think, maybe 250.

David Enevoldsen         Okay. I feel like maybe I should have started with this. Maybe we need to back up here and just clarify. We’ve talking about polyamory here quite a bit in terms of your background. What is polyamory? Just give me some  what that means.

Chris Deaton:               I would say that it refers to the romantic love with more than one person honestly, ethically and with full consent of all people. It is a situation where … Some people out there I’m sure have seen the Showtime show, “Married and Dating.” That’s really the quick snip it to say what it is.

                                    Most people in the poly community are married. Many of them for many years and are dating either individually, the husband/wife/whatever gender dating someone else. Or sometimes the couples are dating

David Enevoldsen         It’s like you have a marital situation and then one of the two marital partners is seeing someone else at the same time.

Chris Deaton:               Or both.

David Enevoldsen         Or both of them are seeing someone else at the same time.

Chris Deaton:               It can get very complicated quickly.

David Enevoldsen         Right. Now I know from having talked to some other people about this particular topic that I think one of the first things a lot of people go to is the show, “Sister Wives.” You just mentioned a different show on there. I saw you laugh as I said that. What’s your feeling about that show? Does that portray any sort of a remotely accurate reflection of what you perceive to be polyamory?

Chris Deaton:               I will admit right off. I’ve actually never seen “Sister Wives.”

David Enevoldsen         Okay.

Chris Deaton:               However, it is a polygamist situation. I would say that there’s the big difference between polygamist situations and polyamorous situations. One being that there are multiple marriages involved there and in a … Having not watched “Sister Wives,” I don’t want to make a judgment to that show.

                                    But polygamy as a general concept, it has a lot of coercion and religious background related to it. Polyamory is not that. Everybody does have a choice. I think one big issue between polygamy and polyamory is that polyamory is actually a feminist driven structure. That’s kind of where it got its start. The women are in a much more position to be able to drive those relationships than most polygamist communities and polygamist insight you look at, it’s a patriarchal model.

David Enevoldsen         Break that down. Why is that? Why do you think it’s a more women driven

Chris Deaton:               Because where it started really getting its traction is in the 70s during the feminist movement and some of the … Actually, the people that coined the phrases originally and those that actually got Loving More started and polyamorous as a concept for the general public were all women that pushed it forward.

David Enevoldsen         Interesting.

Chris Deaton:               Yeah.

David Enevoldsen         Now do you find … That caught me off guard, that statement. Do you find that in modern polyamorous situations that it tends to be more women driven? Or is there kind of

Chris Deaton:               Yes. I would say so. I would say that they definitely have the opportunity to be more in a egalitarian or equitable or even commanding role of the situation. Wherein, I think in traditional relationships, that’s not really the stereotypical what you see.

David Enevoldsen         Interesting. Now we talked a bit here about what polyamory is. Now could you … I think one of the first things people think of is when they’re thinking polyamory is I’ve heard people say this before. Like, “Oh, it would be great to have an extra girlfriend,” or something here. “There’s another person I can run to and sleep with.” Are there-

Chris Deaton:               How much sex do you really have?

David Enevoldsen         Right. Yeah. There’s that, this idea that … We, of course, see people cheating all the time. As a divorce attorney, I see that constantly.

Chris Deaton:               I’m sure.

David Enevoldsen         There’s somebody else in the mix where … The catalyst for the divorce was this affair that the first person didn’t know about. Now am I correct in the distinction that the difference there would be that everybody does know and everybody understands and consents to what’s going on as a …

Chris Deaton:               Yes.

David Enevoldsen         Now elaborate a little bit on the sex component of this because acknowledging that is one of these first thoughts. “Oh, I would love to have an extra girlfriend and just do whatever I want to.”

Chris Deaton:               For sure. Yeah. It’s without a doubt, it’s a part of it. It’s a benefit. There’s no doubt. But it’s not the focus from a polyamorous perspective. Does that mean that people aren’t having a lot of sex? I’m sure some of them are, but the idea is to have intimate relationships that are romantically driven rather than just sex. I think those conversations you probably have heard have been comparing the polyamorous community to the swinging community. There is a lot of crossover. I mean

David Enevoldsen         Can you explain the distinction between those two?

Chris Deaton:               Sure. Sure. Sure. The swinging community is more driven towards a casual sex perception. I jokingly say, “Sex is a sport.” I joke about being sex like soccer. “I’m going to go play soccer with my buddies,” and that’s really all it is. There’s not that, “Sex does not equal love.” That’s really the biggest difference there.

                                    From a swinging perspective in that community, casual sex and with or without your major partner, is perfectly acceptable. You don’t need to have dinner tomorrow, relationship in the future.

                                    The polyamorous community, while sex is still a facet of that, and can be or cannot be, the idea between most people in the [polyish 00:26:01] community is they would like to develop a intimate relationship that is more romantically driven, more conversationally driven, a relationship that extends over time.

David Enevoldsen         Interesting.

Alicia:                           A strong emotional connection.

Chris Deaton:               Yeah. Emotional.

David Enevoldsen         Right. With poly, you basically have got a super emotional connection or we’ve got focus on the emotional connections between just sex for the sake of sex. All right.

                                    We’re going to take another quick break. I’m attorney David Enevoldsen with Family Law Guys. When we return, we’re going to talk more about polyamory. If you want to call in and ask any questions, you can do so by calling 602-277-KFNX. You are tuned into “Family Law Report” on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX.

Speaker 3:                    “Family Law Report” is hosted by Family Law Guys, an Arizona family law firm. “Family Law Report” is dedicated to confronting difficult issues related to marriage, divorce and children. This can range everywhere from addressing the legalities and controversies of topics like gay marriage to current faults in the divorce system to simply providing tips to those getting married or going through a divorce or custody fight.

                                    Tune in every Sunday to “Family Law Report” at noon here on KFNX. If you want to know more or to schedule an appointment with David or another one of the Family Law Guys attorneys, call 480-565-8680. That’s 480-565-8680.

David Enevoldsen         Welcome back to “Family Law Report.” I’m your host, David Enevoldsen, attorney with Family Law Guys, an Arizona law firm here with you every Sunday at noon on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX.

                                    If you want to reach out and schedule an appointment with myself or another attorney at my firm, Family Law Guys, you can do so by calling 480-565-8680. Or you can check us out at on our website at www.familylawguys.com. If you are listening and you want to call in and ask any questions or share thoughts, you can do so by calling 602-277-KFNX.

                                    Today we’ve talking about polyamory. I’ve got guest, Chris Deaton and his girlfriend with me. She’s kind of silently adding commentary where appropriate.

Alicia:                           I’m shy.

David Enevoldsen         We’re not expecting you to see anything so don’t stress. I’m just calling you out right now. And, Chris, if somebody wants to reach out and either learn more about polyamory or talk to you or find out more about your organization, how would they do so?

Chris Deaton:               Polyamory.education is the website. The other easiest way is to go to Facebook and facebook/groups/lovemoreaz. It’s the polyamory Loving More group here in Arizona.

David Enevoldsen         Okay. Cool. Now right before we went to break, we were talking a little bit about the distinctions between swinging and polyamory. You had also mentioned just before that that you said there were a high number of people that were polyamorous situations that are married.

Chris Deaton:               Yes.

David Enevoldsen         Is that correct? Are there different types of arrangements you can have in a polyamorous setting? Is it just married people seeing other people or is there …

Chris Deaton:               If you can imagine it, it’s happened.

David Enevoldsen         Can you give me some examples of like how

Chris Deaton:               Yeah. We have what’s called a polycule like a molecule where people draw out the segments of their little poly family and

David Enevoldsen         I never heard that phrase. That’s interesting.

Chris Deaton:               You can cover an entire wall. I think that probably the most common things you see is the triad so it’s typically three people of various genders in a relationship. You also see quad so … It doesn’t have to be, but it could be couples.

David Enevoldsen         Let me back up. I want to break these down so a triad, you’ve got three people in a relationship. Now are they all interacting with each other?

Chris Deaton:               If it is a triad, typically you would say yes.

David Enevoldsen         Okay. The assumption is that person A, B and C, A and B are having a relationship. A and C are having a relationship and B and C are having a relationship.

Chris Deaton:               Correct.

David Enevoldsen         So they’ve all … All three together in one big relationship blob, I guess so to speak.

Alicia:                           Yeah.

David Enevoldsen         Okay.

Chris Deaton:               And we had that relationship for about a year and that ended a while back, but-

David Enevoldsen         And is this … Somebody in there could be married or not?

Chris Deaton:               Actually, at that particular time, all three of us were to-

Alicia:                           married to other

Chris Deaton:               Other people that weren’t part of that triad.

David Enevoldsen         Interesting. Okay.

Chris Deaton:               Polycule. There’s six pieces to a polycule, right?

David Enevoldsen         Right. Right. Yeah. There’s already quite a number of different option. Now you said quad. That was the next one

Chris Deaton:               That would be four people. It could be two distinct couples or it could just be four people have decided that they want to have a four person relationship.

David Enevoldsen         If there two distinct couples and you had a quad, does that mean it’s just the nature of having four people in the interaction is the quad?

Chris Deaton:               You know, labels change. Nomenclature changes all the time so I think in most quad situations, you would expect it to be the same as you define the triad that there would be a four way, all different directions relationship, but that’s not always the case. I think there needs to be some leeway there on some of those terms. I think the biggest things you see these days as polyadelphous so that’s typically a close relationship. It could be three, it could be four people so that everybody in that relationship is committed to not dating anybody else outside of that relationship.

David Enevoldsen         Interesting.

Chris Deaton:               So there is commitment in the poly community and I think that polyadelphous

David Enevoldsen         So it’s kind of like expanded the monogamous model. With basically

Chris Deaton:               Without a doubt.

Alicia:                           Right.

David Enevoldsen         Which is basically saying we’re having this closed off, “nobody outside of this little relationship universe” is able to engage in another relationship, but you have more than just one-on-one.

Chris Deaton:               More than two. Right … Right.

David Enevoldsen         Interesting. It sounds like there’s quite a range of mixes you could have using that you could have people that are married, people that are not. You could have three, four people in the mix. You could have closed off or not closed off situations or

Chris Deaton:               You have people that claim single polys so they’re not really committed to anybody in particular, but they’re dating two, three, four people.

David Enevoldsen         The label is single poly, meaning-

Chris Deaton:               Single poly. Or solo poly.

David Enevoldsen         I have-

Alicia:                           Yeah.

Chris Deaton:               Solo poly.

David Enevoldsen         Interesting. I guess that’s akin to a monogamous person saying, “I’m not really committed to anybody.”

Chris Deaton:               See. I’m glad that you get that.

Alicia:                           Except for the highlight of the honest and open part.

David Enevoldsen         Interest … Okay.

Alicia:                           If I’m solo poly and then I meet you and I’m interested in dating you, I’m first going to let you know that, “Hi, I’m poly so-“

David Enevoldsen         “Hey, I’ve got some other people.”

Alicia:                           “I may be dating other people.”

David Enevoldsen         “Essentially in the mix.” Got it. Whereas, often in the monogamous universe, you will see somebody just say, “Hey, let’s go out and I’m not going to mention that there’s somebody else in the wings with me right now.”

Alicia:                           Right. It’s possible. Yeah.

Chris Deaton:               I was actually explaining the idea of poly to somebody a couple of months ago. He goes, “Oh, I’m like that.” He goes, “I have two girls I’m dating right now and I told”-

David Enevoldsen         Neither one knows anything about the other.

Chris Deaton:               “Both of them that I love them.” And I go, “Do they both know that you told the other one?”

                                    “Well, no.” Okay. That’s not poly.

David Enevoldsen         This seems to be one of the hallmark distinctions for you then. Am I correct? That the polyamorous situation intricately involves not only multiple people, but making sure that everyone know what’s going on? And is okay with it.

Chris Deaton:               If you’re lying, it’s not polyamory. That’s really where my standing point is. If you’re withholding information about your relation structure to other people … I don’t mean intimate details. We don’t need to know how often you had sex with partner B, but the fact that you have sex or have a relation with partner B is important. And I think that’s …

                                    There’s a bumper sticker out there that’s “Love, Honesty and Communication.” I would say it’s communication, communication, communication. Those are really the hallmarks. Without that, there is no way that any

David Enevoldsen         That’s interesting because that principle, I think, could apply to monogamous situation as well.

Chris Deaton:               Without a doubt. It actually … You started to go that path a minute ago and that’s one thing that I find intrinsic to all of this is almost everything that we will say is important to us from a polyamory perspective, completely applies to monogamy. And most of the complaints that you have in the polyamory community completely apply to monogamy.

                                    You hear people all the time, “Well, it’s so hard to date. After four or five dates, we don’t see each other anymore.” Welcome to monogamous dating. I mean… We add new labels, but it’s just dating around.

                                    I just feel like that we live in a more, for our own personal honesty, we live in a more open environment where if I find somebody that I’m attracted to, I don’t have to feel guilty about it and I can share those feelings with her that I’m …

                                    Did you see this woman? Or did you see this girl I’ve been talking to for a while? I think that that’s … It’s a total different piece of mind. Will I ever pursue that? Maybe. But it’s just being able to have those communications. Not feel like … that I should feel guilty.

David Enevoldsen         press it, like you would-

Chris Deaton:               Yeah.

David Enevoldsen         In a normal, monogamous situation.

Chris Deaton:               That’s the only real difference I find.

David Enevoldsen         Interesting. Now do you find that that, I guess, fosters, just in and of itself, even if you weren’t going to engage in other relationships, just having that backdrop enhances the communication that … You said, “Communication, communication, communication.”

Alicia:                           Absolutely. And the closeness. I don’t have to worry that the new girl that he mentioned at work yesterday is secretly-

David Enevoldsen         Stealing you away.

Alicia:                           He has a secret interest in her. It takes away all that anxiety of what could or couldn’t happen ’cause I know that he’s going to tell me. It’s open and honest. Or if I potentially see some guy that I thought was cute or “Oh, my gosh, I talked to this guy and we actually had some crazy connection. Isn’t that weird?” And-

David Enevoldsen         You can just share it. Right?

Alicia:                           May never lead to anything else, but I don’t have to feel like if I’m going to share that with him that that’s going to cause a problem.

David Enevoldsen         That’s interesting. I was just watching a skit. There’s this comedians I really like: Key & Peele. The other day I was watching a skit that they do where it all starts with … the guy and a girl in a club. The beginning of the skit is them walking out of the club and she’s super angry that he bought everybody drinks and he talked to another girl that was in this mix. He’s chasing after her and she’s going, “No, no.” She’s all angry and he’s trying to say, “I didn’t do anything. I just bought everybody drinks and talked to her.” She’s like, “Why would you do that?”

                                    It’s interesting because you see that. I know that’s a skit. It’s comedians making fun of something, but they’re making fun of something that I see a lot of in the divorce universe, which is this hyper sensitivity or super jealousy that often will create tension in and of itself and sometimes explode up to a point of the relationship breakdown or a divorce or something like that. I could imagine situations where that in and of itself, the jealousy could lead to cutting off a relationship, which could foster some other relationship where somebody’s getting something they want.

Chris Deaton:               We see it often.

David Enevoldsen         Yeah. I find this all super fascinating. There is … Are there situations where you feel that there are coercive things that can happen in the midst of it. You said a second ago that you have this baseline presumption of communication, openness. Could you have a situation where there’s an imbalance of power or rather do you see situations where there’s an imbalance of power and maybe somebody saying, “We’re going to do this. I’m being totally up front about what I’m doing. I’m telling you what I’m doing,” but then one of the people doesn’t really want to be in that situation?

Chris Deaton:               All the time.

David Enevoldsen         Okay.

Chris Deaton:               We’re members of the Meetup group. I don’t see that as much from the Loving More crowd because they’re coming to it from a different perspective, but our Meetup group, we have people that come to the Meetup group all the time that in the back of their mind maybe they’re trying to save a marriage.

                                    This is not the way to save a marriage. Having a child doesn’t save a marriage. Becoming poly does not save a marriage. That’s not the route to go. We can see those pretty much right off the bat.

                                    The other one is when one of the couple will come more often than the other or one the couple … And we don’t need them to be couples, but this is obviously where we see that problem.

David Enevoldsen         Right. These are red flags in the beginning.

Chris Deaton:               It’s the … Yeah. And one of ’ems not happy about being there. It could be male or female that is in their traditional couple these days that comes in. That’s the groups that we see though is traditional male/female, husband/wife come in and one of them is typically pushing the other to try this. Or give it a chance. That’s unhealthy.

                                    I think that we’re pretty nice and receptive to those folks when they do come to the community, but we’re also pretty harsh and pretty upfront and blunt about it, too. This is the situation you’re in right now-

David Enevoldsen         So you’re not anti-monogamy?

Chris Deaton:               Oh, God, no. No way. In fact-

David Enevoldsen         You’re just saying everybody should be understanding of where they are-

Chris Deaton:               Yep. Exactly. Yeah.

David Enevoldsen         be consensual. Or should be-

Chris Deaton:               Monogamy is a wonderful thing for great people-

David Enevoldsen         I got it.

Chris Deaton:               And for certain people.

David Enevoldsen         All right. We’re going to take another quick break. I’m attorney David Enevoldsen with Family Law Guys. When we return, we’re going to be talking more about polyamory. If you want to call in and ask any questions, you can do so by calling 602-277-KFNX. You are tuned into “Family Law Report” on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX.

Speaker 3:                    “Family Law Report” is hosted by Family Law Guys, an Arizona family law firm. “Family Law Report” is dedicated to confronting difficult issues related to marriage, divorce and children. This can range everywhere from addressing the legalities and controversies of topics like gay marriage to current faults in the divorce system to simply providing tips to those getting married or going through a divorce or custody fight.

                                    Tune in every Sunday to “Family Law Report” at noon here on KFNX. If you want to know more or to schedule an appointment with David or another one of the Family Law Guys attorneys, call 480-565-8680. That’s 480-565-8680.

David Enevoldsen         Welcome back to “Family Law Report.” I’m your host, David Enevoldsen, attorney with Family Law Guys, an Arizona law firm, here with you every Sunday at noon on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX.

                                    If you want to reach out and schedule an appointment with myself or another attorney at my firm, Family Law Guys, you can do so by calling 480-565-8680. Or you can check us out at on our website at www.familylawguys.com.

                                    If you are listening, you want to call in and ask any questions or share thoughts, tell me how amazing I am, anything like that, you can do so by calling 602-277-KFNX ’cause you laughed, but I’m pretty amazing. Come on.

Alicia:                           You are amazing.

David Enevoldsen         See, everybody’s saying it. There’s confirmation.

Chris Deaton:               We don’t even have to call the station. David is amazing.

David Enevoldsen         There we go. Okay. I’ve gotten my kudos for the day. My guest today is Chris Deaton and he’s brought in his girlfriend. Chris, one more time. I’ll give you another plug. If somebody wants to reach out, find out more, how do they do so?

Chris Deaton:               Two easy places. The website, polyamory.education. The other one is Facebook at facebook.com/groups/lovemoreaz. They can find the Arizona chapter of Loving More there that I run.

David Enevoldsen         Okay. Now we’ve been talking today about polyamory. Right before the break, we were talking … Actually, let me jump that. During the break, we were talking a little bit about people walking into polyamory to fix things, correct?

Chris Deaton:               Right.

David Enevoldsen         It’s interesting because we see that in other settings. For example, I’ve very often seen people have either emotional problems or relationship problems and they get married. Or they have a kid and the objective there, whether consciously or not, is to try to repair the problem by adding on this complexity and that, in my experience, typically backfires. Now you were saying …

Chris Deaton:               Exactly the same thing.

David Enevoldsen         You can see thing in polyamory, right?

Chris Deaton:               All the time. As I was saying, I really want to walk up to some of these couples at times that come in and just give ’em a hug and go, “Go back home and be mono for a while.” It really becomes a situation. They need to fix what’s in their relationship before they ever open up the door for polyamory. It’s a hard road. It’s super communicative and you’ve got to get that communication part of your relationship down first. Otherwise, you’re just going to add all sorts of concepts and new ideas and new feelings into an already volatile situation that’s not good.

David Enevoldsen         Sure. Absolutely.

Alicia:                           And when you open the door for jealousy, to enter the relationship and you don’t have the skills to communicate about it, that will bring down the relationship faster than anything else.

David Enevoldsen         Right. Now that to me, that’s reminiscent of the “things aren’t functioning quite right so if I get married, it’s going to be better.” You still need the basic relationship building blocks to walk into the marriage, right?

Alicia:                           Yeah.

David Enevoldsen         Otherwise, it’s just going to get exponentially worse over time and especially with kids where you’re adding on a huge stressor. I’ve seen that, too. Like, “I’m going to keep this person tied to me forever if I just have a kid with them.” People will sometimes, whether consciously or not, intentionally get pregnant and then all of a sudden, you added a lot of fuel to this fire where things are just a lot worse.

                                    Basically, the theme is before you’re considering even looking at polyamory, you should make sure that you’ve got a pretty stable core relationship.

Chris Deaton:               Only the strongest couples need apply. I often …

David Enevoldsen         Interesting. Talking about kids, I want to dive into that for just a second. How do you deal with that in terms of having children in the mix? Of course, normally, we just look at the monogamous relationships where you’ve got two people doing child rearing? Now when you have a triad or a quad or something like that, how does this all work? patience for that.

Chris Deaton:               It’s not my saying. It takes a village to raise a child. I think that that is a perfect illustration of what poly can bring to the life of children. There’s a great book out there called “The Polyamorists Next Door,” by Elisabeth Sheff where she did some long-term studies on families with children. I also know a number of polyamorous couples and groups out here that have children.

                                    My children are aware. I think you and I actually had a conversation on the phone. You see grandparents pitching in and helping out or that extended family. At least in my age when we were younger, people had grandparents around or aunts and uncles and all that. That doesn’t happen today, but in the poly … and it does some, but in the poly-

David Enevoldsen         Well, actually … Let me.

Chris Deaton:               Yeah.

David Enevoldsen         In my personal experience in going through divorces is that I see grandparents get involved really frequently.

Chris Deaton:               Really?

David Enevoldsen         Yeah. I-

Chris Deaton:               We’re too far away with ours so that was

David Enevoldsen         Interesting. Yeah. I have a lot of cases where either one sides grandparents or the other sides or both are in the mix. For example, I frequently see one of the grandparents as providing daycare for a kid during the day while everybody’s working. Like there’s-

Chris Deaton:               So exactly same thing.

David Enevoldsen         So you’re saying basically, this is one of the major benefits of poly-

Chris Deaton:               Huge.

David Enevoldsen         Is having children is now you’ve got more people to watch for the kids is the “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Chris Deaton:               Different perspectives. You’re also learning from other adults that you as an adult trust to be in your community are now helping educate your children.

David Enevoldsen         Could this create complexity in terms of making final decisions about things? For example, if you had, say you’ve got a triad and there’s three different people with an egalitarian, equalized position and they all feel like they’re parents of the child and they have a dispute about some legal decision they’re going to make or how they’re going to raise the child in a particular way, whether punishment should be done in some circumstances. Does that create problems in terms of having more chiefs chefs in the kitchen sort

Chris Deaton:               At least in my knowledge, in my understanding are the ones that I’ve either read about or been familiar with, there is enough a division there that the biological parents are still the authoritative figure for the children.

David Enevoldsen         So there’s often still a hierarchy in terms of-

Chris Deaton:               Yeah.

David Enevoldsen         But I guess that would akin to the grandparent thing because if you have grandparents involved they may be providing insights, providing direction, maybe providing child care, but they’re not necessarily making the final calls in the event of a dispute between parents and grandparents or something

Chris Deaton:               Right, but there are the newer cases that … Let’s take a triad to make it easy. You have a triad where a child has been born while the triad’s already formed and all three of them raise that child from birth. There’s the case that we talked about the other day in New York where a judge gave some preliminary findings that it was okay to do a three way shared custody.

David Enevoldsen         Let me talk about that really quick ’cause you exposed me to this. I had no idea this has even happened. I thought this was super interesting. There was a case – I looked this up – in New York where the trial court was faced with a situation where Dawn and Michael Marano. They were married and they entered into this relationship with their downstairs neighbor, Audria.

                                    They eventually all moved in together. Michael had a kid with Audria. Audria’s the non-married party and then all three were raising the kid. Then Dawn and Michael got a divorce. Then Audria and Michael were going to continue their relationship.

Chris Deaton:               Which are the biological parents.

David Enevoldsen         Correct. In this situation now, the wife was trying to come in and continue to be involved in the upbringing of the child. She wanted custody. The trial court here ended up granting a three way custody order saying everybody’s allowed to be in the mix.

                                    This isn’t binding law per se because it happened at a trial court level, but it’s super interesting because it does sort of open the door to at least the mindset of that you can have, exactly what you’re talking about, these three way custody relationships.

                                    I thought this was fascinating … This all happened back in March of this year, my understanding is Michael was saying he was going to appeal it. I don’t know if that actually has happened.

Chris Deaton:               I didn’t follow-up.

David Enevoldsen         Even if he had, that’s from March of this year, appeals take forever so. I know from the courts, this moves into slow motion. We probably wouldn’t even know anything quite yet, but I’d like to follow up on this because I think that’s super interesting.

                                    I know in Arizona just legally speaking, you would find some very different things. We very frequently will find presumptions of “We’re going to cut out anybody that’s not part of the marriage or that’s not within this biological relationship or anything.” I’ve even seen case law in Arizona …

                                    There’s a case. I can’t remember what it was, but at some point a long time ago, I remember, there was a footnote in there that said something about how horrible polyamory is and we don’t want anything like that. Are you aware of any other legal changes?

Chris Deaton:               I know there’s still custody concerns, at least here in this state and others, that that becomes an issue when divorces happen so we do have some challenges on the legal side of things, but from a shared custody, that’s the only one I know of recently.

David Enevoldsen         Okay. Can I … Maybe we can shift off the legal stuff for just a second ’cause we could go on for that for a long time, but I’d rather hear from you a little bit. One more practical question that I have is how do you deal with time? Because I feel that very often in a monogamous relationship, you hear concerns about “You’re always working. I never have time with you. We never get to go out on dates,” and now you’re adding on another person that’s needing that time as well. How do you deal with that?

Chris Deaton:               The technology is a wonderful thing so Google Calendars, shared calendars. There’s a couple apps out there that’ll help with that. That really becomes probably one of the greatest challenges. We have a term called poly-saturated. It’s when you have just way too much poly in your life and you have no time for any more. We have the conversation pretty often-

David Enevoldsen         That’s interesting because I read a phrase online previously that said something along the lines of love may be infinite, but times not.

Chris Deaton:               Times not. Right. Right. Right. Yeah. It’s a problem. I see that most people … I wouldn’t say most. There’s a lot of them that tend to have one the relationships is not local. That helps a little bit with the time management. They spend time doing texting, Facetime, Skype or something like that so there’s not as much as demand locally.

                                    I tell everybody that my poly life is my kids; is one of my relationships because that is time. I mean

David Enevoldsen         So calendar it basically

Chris Deaton:               Calendar. I mean that’s it.

David Enevoldsen         Get your stuff scheduled.

Chris Deaton:               Shared Google.

David Enevoldsen         All right. One more time. Quick plug. How do people get a hold of you or find more?

Chris Deaton:               Polyamory.education is the website. That is the easiest way. Then look up Polyamory Awareness Loving More on Facebook and you can find me there.

David Enevoldsen         All right. That’s about all the time we have for today’s show. You’ve been listening to “Family Law Report.” I’m your host David Enevoldsen, an attorney with Family Law Guys, an Arizona law firm. Had with me Chris Deaton and his girlfriend. Thank you both for being here.

Chris Deaton:               Thank you for having us.

David Enevoldsen         It’s been super interesting to me. And join us again next week on Sunday at noon for more of the latest on family law here on Independent Talk 1100 KFNX. Just remember, if you’re in a family law matter, please call an attorney. Check us out on www.familylawguys.com or by calling 480-565-8680. Thank you all for listening. Have a great week.

Announcer:                    “Family Law Report” is hosted by Family Law Guys, an Arizona family law firm. “Family Law Report” is dedicated to confronting difficult issues related to marriage, divorce and children. This can range everywhere from addressing the legalities and controversies of topics like gay marriage to current faults in the divorce system to simply providing tips to those getting married or going through a divorce or custody fight.

                                    Tune in every Sunday to “Family Law Report” at noon here on KFNX. If you want to know more or to schedule an appointment with David or another one of the Family Law Guys attorneys, call 480-565-8680. That’s 480-565-8680.

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