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Ellen, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 36714
Experience:  25 years of experience helping people like you.
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Hi, My husband recently passed away. I have 2 step-children

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My husband recently passed away. I have 2 step-children that I have been helping to raise for the past 3 years. They are now 7 and 5 years old. My husband, Matt, had shared parenting with his ex and I spent more time with the boys then either parent. I drove them 40 minutes to and from school, prepared their meals, helped with homework, and stopped working to take of them when their dad no longer could alone 2 years ago. He battled cancer and I handled everything involving the care for the boys on our days. We had a strong family tie and love each other very much. They also have a baby brother (20 mos) that Matt and I had together. The mother isn't agreeing to a set schedule for us to spend time together. She is giving me a few hours every 1-2 weeks or so. I feel like there should be a set routine of involvement with the boy's life as they grow up. I understand that step parents don't have many rights, but would it be worth my effort to meet with an attorney to get visitation rights?
*This chat is not intended as legal advice. It is general information that may or may not apply to your situation and should not be relied upon.*


My condolences on your loss. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do whatever I can to answer your questions!

Yes it would be worth your effort to meet with an attorney to obtain visitation rights.

You appear to stand in the position of de facto parent to your stepsons. This means you stood in the position of parent to the children. Now that their biological father has died, a court can determine that it is in the children's best interest to award you with visitation rights. The fact that you are the biological mother to the children's sibling, would typically further assist in obtaining visitation rights

I would be glad to respond to any related follow-up questions that you may have.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So it's not unreasonable for me to try for this? Any insight on what other cases have produced for a step parent in my position? Just looking for a few examples, if possible, to give some encouragement. I don't want to step on the mother's toes at all, I just feel that we also have the right to be together, as appropriate, as a family on a more defined schedule. Can that include holiday stipulations also?? How about vacations? For the past 3-4 years we took 2 seperate week vacations with Matt's family. I just feel like that needs to continue as well.


Hello Cindy,

I do not see it is unreasonable. I do not have the facilities to perform the research necessary to point you to specific cases– such research is time-consuming/expensive and is best left to local counsel. However if you prevail, you would be entitled to most of the same rights as a biological parent
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