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Stepparent Rights During Divorce

Family dynamics can be difficult, especially when families split up after spending years together. For example, if a stepparent and a child’s biological parent plan to divorce, does the stepparent have the right to spend time with the child they helped to raise? This can be a complicated area of the law, which is why we encourage you to reach out to our Austin child custody attorney at Evans Family Law Group to get guidance on stepparent rights during divorce.

Who Is a Stepparent?

The first step is to understand who is considered a stepparent. Typically, this person is or was married to the child’s parent at some time and has been given limited rights as a stepparent over the child during the time that the party was married. When a couple is not married but lives together, and one parent is a stepparent, they would not have any legal rights to the child after the relationship ends.

Some examples of when the stepparent may have some legal rights to the child include:

  • The stepparent governed some of the household rules and chores with the child
  • They may have supported the child and the biological parent in the disciplining of the child
  • The stepparent may have helped to sign consent forms or provided authorization for medical procedures

The key here is that the stepparent acted in some way like a parent to the child when the couple was married, even if they are not the biological parent. In these situations, they may have some rights.

What Rights Could a Stepparent Have?

In situations where a stepparent has contributed to the upbringing of the child, especially over time, it can be critical for this person to have some legal right to the child after the divorce. This may include providing the child with some access to visitation with the stepparent. There are times when both biological parents may agree to allow a stepparent to adopt the child as well, and in that case, the stepparent would be treated as an equal.

Keep in mind that the court has one key rule that is always followed: to provide the best outcome and support for the child. The court will make decisions on stepparent inclusion or exclusion from a child’s life based on what is best for that child, or at least what it believes is best for the child. Proving that can help you to get visitation and even partial custody of a child, depending on the situation itself. We can help you manage the Texas rights and duties of the parent-child relationship based on the laws in Texas.

Let Our Divorce and Child Custody Attorneys Help You

Stepparent rights during divorce are complex, but our team at Evans Family Law Group can help on a consistent basis. We encourage you to reach out to us to request a consultation with our attorney to learn more about your rights in this situation. We are here to ensure your questions are answered and that you do not run into any roadblocks during the divorce process.

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