Divorce can be a difficult process, especially if you’re facing the possibility of losing custody of your child or stepchild. Were you aware that stepparents in certain cases have rights to seek custody of their stepchildren? Depending on circumstances related to the divorce, it may not just be biological parents that can obtain full or partial custody of their children but stepparents too.
In this blog post, we will discuss the specifics of how stepparents may be able to gain custody rights during divorce proceedings. From exploring eligibility criteria to learning more about alternative options, this comprehensive overview is sure to provide all the information you need to help you decide which option is right for you and your stepchild.
Do Stepparents Have Child Custody Rights?
Divorce proceedings can be difficult for any family, but when a stepparent is involved, things can get even more complicated. In most cases, the stepparent has no legal rights to custody of the children. This can be frustrating for stepparents who have been involved in the children's lives and developed strong relationships with them.
In some cases, however, stepparents may be able to seek custody or visitation rights in divorce proceedings. This will depend on the specific situation and on Florida law. Generally, the court will look at factors such as whether the stepparent has been a part of the children's lives for a significant period, whether they have been financially supporting the children, and whether there is any evidence that the children would be harmed if they were to live with the stepparent.
If you are a stepparent seeking custody or visitation rights in a divorce proceeding, it is important to understand your rights and to consult with an attorney who can help you protect your interests.
When Can a Stepparent Seek Custody of Their Stepchildren?
For a stepparent to seek custody, they must meet the eligibility criteria as set out by Florida. Generally, this will require that the stepparent be a legal parent of the child, that they have been married to the child's other parent for a certain period, and that they have resided with the child for a certain period.
If these criteria are met, the stepparent may be able to petition the court for custody of the child. This can be a difficult process, as the court will likely give preference to the child's biological parents. However, if the stepparent can show that it is in the best interests of the child to live with them, they may be awarded custody.
What Should Stepparents Do if They Are Having Trouble Securing Custody of Their Stepchildren?
There are a few different options that are available to stepparents when gaining parental rights is problematic:
- One option is to file a petition for guardianship with the court. This would allow the stepparent to have more authority over the child and would make them the legal guardian of the child.
- Another option is to file for adoption. This would make the stepparent the legal parent of the child and would give them all the rights and responsibilities that come with being a parent.
- A third option is to petition the court for a modification of the custody order. This would allow the stepparent to have more time with the child or to change the custody arrangement altogether.
Any of these options can be helpful in giving the stepparent more authority and involvement in the child's life. However, it is important to speak with an attorney to determine which option would be best in each individual case.
For information about Orshan, Spann & Fernandez-Mesa, and what we’ve done to help clients facing child custody issues of all kinds, check out our clients’ reviews.
To learn more about what to do if you’re a stepparent seeking custody of your stepchildren, give our experienced divorce and child custody attorneys in Miami-Dade a call at (305) 853-9161 or contact us online today.