Protecting Your Family's Future
 

Visitation Rights for Step-Parents

You love your stepchildren as if they were your own biological children. You nurtured them. You watched them grow. You celebrated their achievements. You picked the kids up. You fed them dinner. You worked the calendar. You loved them wholeheartedly. And now you’re getting a divorce.

How do you continue to maintain a loving relationship with your stepchildren after divorce? Are you scared that the divorce will spell the end of your relationship with your stepkids? What are the rights of stepparents when it comes to visitation with their stepchildren?

In the past, stepparents’ rights to visit their step children after a divorce didn’t really happen. However, with more than 50 percent of all marriage ending in divorce and an even higher percentage of second marriages ending in divorce, stepparents’ rights are part of the conversation of divorce these days.

Many states allow stepparents to seek visitation rights. Other states allow “interested third parties” to request visitation rights. Judges will look at factors that include these, when making a decision about granting you visitation rights:

  • How long have you played a parental role to the children?
  • How involved are you with the children on a day-to-day basis?
  • How close is the bond between you and the children?
  • What financial contributions have you made to the support of the children?
  • How much detriment or harm will come to the children if you are no longer involved in their daily lives?

This last, detriment, is especially critical when the biological parent does not want to allow you visitation access to the children. The judge will decide based on the other factors and how harmful it will be to the children not to have you in their lives. This is because the family law standard is to act in accordance with what is in the best interest of the children.

As you move toward the divorce, talk to your partner about visitation with the stepkids and how you can continue to play a role in the children’s lives. Ideally, the biological parent will support this idea for the children’s sake.

As for the children, no matter what happens, let them know how much you love them, how much you want to be in their lives, and that you are divorcing your partner, not them. Work hard to stay connected and levelheaded with your soon-to-be ex as that will help in fostering more continuity for the children.

Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Post-Divorce, and Family Law Attorney, Baytown, Texas

Stewart Law, PLLC, located in Baytown, Texas, provides legal counsel to parents and stepparents involved in issues relating to visitation and custody, enforcing a divorce decree, child support, divorce, and other family law cases. If you have questions about any family law matter, we can give you advice that will help you decide how to proceed. For an initial assessment and consultation, contact our family law firm online or call our office at
(281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of $50.

 
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Stewart Law PLLC