Do stepparents have rights to their loved ones’ children? This can be a complicated situation, because the step parent may live with the children for a significant amount of time and consider the children to be his or her own or even find that he or she wants to obtain some visitation or custody time in the case of a divorce.

Stepparents do have the right to adopt stepchildren legally, which gives them all the same rights and responsibilities of a parent. Typically, you can only do this if you have the permission of both parents unless one of the parents has passed away or if the parent’s rights have been terminated by the courts. In the case that a parent is a negative influence on a child or dangerous to his or her overall welfare, a parent or step parent can petition to have that parent’s rights terminated.

In the case that you and your spouse split up and you are separated from your stepchildren, you may wish to seek out visitation rights. The laws on this vary by state, and your case could be influenced by where the other parent lives or by the state in which the case is tried. You will have to show that visitation is in the best interest of the child involved. If the child’s mother or father or both disagree with your visitation request, it may be difficult for you to obtain visitation rights.

If you’re concerned about your rights, the right legal guidance can make a difference. You may be entitled to request visitation or custody rights in your situation. Our website has more information on what you can do to stay in contact with your step kids.