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FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1476
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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When child custody is awarded to each parent...can a step

Customer Question

When child custody is awarded to each parent...can a step parent fill in for the custodial parent?
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

Hello. I’m a family lawyer, former trial lawyer and appellate attorney with 36 years’ experience and also have extensive experience with landlord-tenant issues and other legal issues. I look forward to helping you today.

At the end of our discussion I’m going to ask you to rate me, okay? I’d appreciate it because this is the only way we get credit for our time here today. It is at no extra cost to you.

Please note:This is general information for educational purposes and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an attorney on this site. You are advised to retain your own attorney.

If I’m back not here right away, I’m typing my answer. Thanks!

Is this your significant other who is the step-parent?

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

I don't know who is the step-parent here, most likely your partner, but here's the thing. In all states, the biological parents have superior rights to anyone else. That includes grandparents, siblings, cousins, step-parents, etc. The biological parents have the rights to be with the child and nobody else can have custody of the child unless the parent is deemed to be unfit or has neglected or abused the child.

The step-parent, however, if living with you and the child, can do his very best to fill in because the kids need a father figure. If they don't have a relationship or much of a relationship with their father, there is nothing saying they can't start forming one with their step father. My daughter is very close with her step father because her father was on the other side of the country. She has remained very close with him and now she's an adult.

So yes, the step-parent can try to fill in where the custodial parent is not in the kids' lives enough, but he can't bring a lawsuit for custody. That can't happen unless bio dad is unfit, and there 's nothing in here to make me think that the dad is unfit, unless there are more allegations that I don't know about. Feel free to tell me if there are other issues here.

If at any point the bio dad disappears off the face of the earth, then you can talk about abandonment and adoption, etc. but at this point, if dad is still around, the step-parent can try to fill the dad's shoes at home.

Does this answer your question?

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

If this scenario is not the case and you're talking about the bio dad's new significant other, please let me know. If this is the case, SHE can't fill in any more than your significant other can, but unless she is causing serious issues and she shouldn't be with the kids, then she is allowed to be there.

I am answering this question from both sides because I don't have enough information here. If you'd like a phone call I can do that too.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

Is there more information you can give me about this case so I can help you with the exact issue here -- I'd need to know who is the step parent we're talking about and what is the relationship between the kids and the father and the kids and the step parent. Thanks!

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

I'm taking a dinner break right now but will be back in about an hour to check to see if you left me any more information here. Thanks! :)

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

From the limited information I have, I hope I answered your question. I know that it's most important to understand that biological parents have superior rights but a step parent can do a lot to fill some empty shoes, depending on the step parent.

Please let me know if you need any more information, such as where to find an attorney in your area, or anything else related to this question. Id' rather be rated positively and if I didn't answer all of your questions, I'd like to have a chance to make sure that I do. Thanks in advance for rating me. If you need more information, let me know as I’m happy to give it.

I hope this helps and clarifies. If you could, I'd appreciate it if you can rate me when finished. Kindly rate me positively so that I can get credit. It is no additional charge to you.

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You are also welcome to come back to this room free of charge to ask me a follow-up to this question at any time. Be well and thank you for letting me help you tonight.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

Hi, just checking in to see if you still need help with your question. I need the information before I can help you so I'm just checking in. Thanks!