A stepparent’s role is vital in the well being of a child as another caring family member looking out for the child’s welfare and growth. A good stepparent can make the home a happier and safe place and provide a child with unconditional love, learning and quality values.
You can only become a stepparent through marriage which is why if divorced, a stepparent wouldn’t have any legal claim or visitation rights unless the birth parent granted them. And, the birth parent can change these rights at any time.
In most cases decisions like custody, medical treatment and education are left to the birth parents under the “Parental Preference Rule” which states – A fit parent, who is willing and able to care for a minor child, should be granted custody instead of someone who is not the child’s parent. The fit parent has a right to make decisions concerning the “care, custody and control” of their children.
A stepparent would have a difficult time over turning this position of the family courts unless they could show overwhelming evidence that visitation with the stepparent is in the child’s best interest.
In order for a stepparent to have legal rights to a stepchild there has to be a stepparent adoption, which requires the consent of both birth parents or court order. Once the stepparent adopts the stepchild it cannot be undone or modified.
At Loeser Law we can help with stepparent rights and fight to make sure a stepparent’s voice is heard.
Call us at 949-392-5050