Experienced Stepparents’ Rights Lawyers in Queens, NY
For many stepparents who care for and have loving relationships with their stepchildren, assuming a parent’s role feels natural. Unfortunately, the law does not recognize this bond.
Stepparents seeking legal recognition as their stepchild’s guardian need to pursue this designation through the courts.
An experienced stepparents rights lawyer in New York can help you and your stepchild explore your options and navigate the family court system.
Is a Stepparent a Legal Guardian?
Stepparents are not, by default, legal guardians. Though the stepparent may assume day-to-day parenting responsibilities and contribute financially to a child’s care, they do not have a right to make legal, financial, educational or medical decisions for their stepchild.
It is essential to note that even without legal guardianship, a stepparent’s contributions to household income may be factored in by the courts when determining child support responsibilities.
Can a Stepparent Become a Legal Guardian?
It may be possible for stepparents to gain legal guardianship in exceptional circumstances.
Stepparents may be able to adopt their stepchild if the other parent is no longer living or terminates their parental rights.
If a child’s parents are not married at birth, and no legal paternity is established, it may be possible for a stepfather to name himself as the primary caretaker and legal parent. This process may be relevant in specific situations where the court deems it in the child’s best interests.
What Rights Do I have as a Stepparent?
Stepparents have limited rights without further legal action. Even if adoption is not possible, there may be options to establish some rights for stepparents. Possible options could include:
- Notifying your stepchild’s school that you are allowed to pick up your stepchild and attend parent-teacher events.
- Filing paperwork that enables you to have input on your stepchild’s medical care.
- Allocating specific rights, agreed upon by both biological parents, through a Power of Attorney.
Can a Stepparent Get Visitation Rights?
During a divorce, a stepparent may petition the court for visitation with their former stepchild. However, if their ex-spouse or the child’s other legal guardian object, the court may not award visitation.
How Can Stepparents get Legal Rights?
Stepparents may be able to petition the court for guardianship and visitation or adopt their stepchild. Every situation is unique and depends on existing parental rights and other extenuating factors.
If you are a stepparent interested in establishing legal rights, it is essential to consult with an attorney. A qualified stepparents’ rights lawyer will evaluate your unique situation and discuss possible options.
Work with an Experienced Stepparent Rights Lawyer in New York
As the leading stepparents’ rights lawyers in Queens NY, FK Law Group’s attorneys have extensive experience with the New York family court system. Our team of compassionate lawyers has helped many New York stepparents achieve greater recognition for their relationship with a stepchild. Contact us for a consultation at our Forest Hills office to learn more about the options that may be available to your family.