For a stepparent to serve in loco parentis, both biological parents must be deceased or unable to care for a kid. If a stepparent divorces their spouse but wants to keep in touch with their stepchild, they may be granted visiting privileges. The decision whether to allow visitors will depend on the circumstances of the case.
In most states, a stepparent cannot be given legal custody of a child unless the divorce is actually finalized, which means that even if one spouse has died, the other can still refuse to let the stepparent have custody. However, if the two spouses have already finished going through with the divorce process before the death of the first spouse, then the other spouse would be able to agree to give custody to the stepparent.
States vary when it comes to granting visitation rights to stepparents. Some hold that since a stepparent isn't actually married to the child's parent, they don't have any right to visit with them. Other states say that if there's no spouse left to object, then the government has to see reason enough to deny visitation rights to one who hasn't been officially declared as an adoptive parent.
After the death of a spouse, children usually do not feel like they need to cut off all contact with their stepparent because there's nothing legally binding between them anymore.
Similarly, during a divorce case, a stepparent cannot ask the court for custody of the kid. A blood relative will always be granted custody of a kid over an unrelated individual. A non-biological child's medical treatment, education, or other areas of his life cannot be dictated by a stepparent. Instead, these decisions must be made by the parent or parents who have been given legal authority over the child (this is usually the mother for girls and the father for boys).
A stepparent can seek visitation rights with his stepchild. This may be done through the courts or through your local county agency that handles family issues. If you are not granted visitation rights, this does not mean you cannot see your stepson or daughter. A court may limit your access to the child if it determines that such action is in the child's best interest. For example, if the mother gets a new boyfriend and wants him to have nothing to do with the child, the court might agree with her. Or, the court could decide that only one visit per month is enough interaction for a child to maintain a relationship with his or her biological parent.
If you are not the biological parent of a child and do not have any legal right to custody, then you are considered a "non-parent" custodian. Non-parent custodians can still request visitation from a court, but they cannot demand it.
Normally, the biological parent has custody rights, however step-parents do not have legal custody rights as part of the marriage. There may be exceptions due to step-parent adoption, but the basic truth is that they seldom do. The non-biological parent's role is mainly one of responsibility rather than authority.
In most states, a step-parent cannot be awarded custody without a court order. If the original marriage was not legally binding, then there is no marital relationship and thus no basis for awarding custody. In some states, however, a de facto marriage can be recognized even if not legally formalized. If such a marriage exists, then it is possible for the step-parent to be granted custody. Otherwise, he or she would lack standing to seek custody.
The step-parent doesn't automatically lose his or her right to custody by marrying another person. But it does change the nature of their relationship with their child. From now on, the new spouse becomes an equal partner in parenting the child, instead of just a friend or relative.
If you are a step-parent seeking custody, your best option is usually to go to court. The courts will look at the steps you have taken into the family, as well as your relationship with the child. They will also consider what type of arrangement would be best for the child.
In most circumstances, step-parents are not allowed to participate in the divorce proceedings in court. Instead, courts conclude that divorce rules, which establish their power to resolve custody issues inside a divorce, do not give further jurisdiction to hear custody disputes between parents and step-parents.
However, some states do give step-parents this authority. It depends on what state you live in. You should talk with an attorney about this issue in your own state. For example, in North Carolina, courts will generally deny visitation rights to a step-parent if the marriage was entered into for the purpose of having a child through in vitro fertilization or any other form of reproductive technology. However, if the step-parent's relationship with the child's parent grew out of an ordinary marriage, then they would be considered free to seek visitation from the court.
Also, in North Carolina, a step-parent who has been given visitation rights by the court can be required to pay child support. The court can order either or both parties involved in the divorce to provide financial assistance to the other. This is called "alimony". The amount that is awarded is within the court's discretion. Alimony may be necessary to allow one spouse to obtain the education or training he or she needs to find employment in a field other than where his or her job now is.
Exceptions that might occur Stepparents can sway a court's judgment on child custody if they give evidence of why the parent should not have access to the kid. For example, if the stepparent is aware that the non-custodial parent is abusing the kid.
The legal rights of stepparents to a child who is not biologically theirs are determined by the legal proceedings and the involvement of the biological parents. In general, unless they have legal custody, stepparents have no legal rights to non-biological children. Rights of Stepparents in General
Unless the step-parent formally adopts the step-child, a step-parent is not a legal guardian. If you visit with a family law attorney (the one who handled your divorce is generally the obvious choice), he or she will be able to tell you exactly what may or must be done in your state. You need to understand that while it may seem like a natural thing for a parent to do, acting as a foster parent is also an option that needs to be considered.
In most states, there is no requirement that you are legally related to your step-child before you can be granted custody. However, most courts will not grant you custody unless you can show that you have changed enough to become a suitable guardian for your step-child. This means that if you are not married to the child's biological parent, you will need to demonstrate that you are willing and able to provide for the physical and emotional needs of the child.
The best way to gain custody of a child is through a formal court process. The lawyer can help you create a plan for moving forward with your life and parenting future together. He or she can also help you argue your case in order to win custody.
If you try to convince a judge that you are a good candidate for custody by telling him or her how much you love the child or that you can provide a better home than the parent who already has custody, the judge may not believe you.