December 2, 2015

What Happens to Stepparents and Stepchildren After a Divorce?

While stepchildren may not be yours biologically, that does not mean that the bond between you isn’t important. In some cases, the relationship between stepparents and their children can be very strong. And when divorce enters the picture, it can bring a cloud of uncertainly as to what will happen with their stepchildren after a divorce. What legal rights and/or obligations does a stepparent have in terms of visitation and financial obligation in a Florida divorce? Unfortunately, you are not legally allowed to demand access if you haven’t adopted the child or can prove other criteria that entitle you to visitation. The reality is, the ongoing status of the stepparent/stepchild relationship is largely dependent on the biological parent’s opinion.

Visitation rights are not automatically given to a stepparent unless there is an overwhelming psychological or emotional need to do so. And, even in that situation, it will not likely be ordered if the biological parents don’t agree to the continued contact.

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If your spouse understands the important role you play in the child’s life and allows you visitation, it is important to reassure the child that your love for them will not change and you would like to remain connected. Follow through with this promise by being part of their big moments such as sporting events, dance recitals, etc.

In hostile divorces, however, it is common for a spouse to forbid their child from contacting their stepparent. If this happens to you, the best thing you can do is consult with a divorce lawyer. They may be able to build a case compelling your ex to provide you with access to the child.

Some divorcing stepparents even reach out to the other bio-parent in hopes that they will recognize the important role you play in the child’s life and may be willing to share their custodial time with you. These are all issue you can discuss with an experienced family law attorney in West Palm Beach.


Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss issues related to stepchildren, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. online or call 561-478-0312.



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