Law Office of Paul Petrillo
Contact Us Today 603-635-4149
Menu Contact

Stepparent rights: What you can and can't do

When you're the stepparent of a child, you're not the child's parent, and that means you won't necessarily have any right to make decisions. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can gain some rights to take actions in your stepchild's best interests.

Can stepparents make legal decisions for the benefit of a stepchild?

To be recognized legally as a parent, the stepparent must adopt the stepchild. This isn't always possible, as the other parent, whether it's the father or mother, would need to give up his or her parental rights.

Some states allow for third-parent adoptions to help prevent this from becoming an issue. They treat a third-parent adoption as a case-by-case issue. New Hampshire does not allow third-parent adoptions.

Although stepparent isn't a real parent to the child in the eyes of the law, that doesn't mean he or she can't have some say in the child's life. Parents may draft agreements in which the stepparent is given some rights. For instance, both biological parents may agree that a stepparent should be able to make decisions about the child's need for medical care or schooling if they are all in agreement on those subjects.

Many agreements allow the stepparent to make day-to-day decisions while requiring a biological parent to make more important, life-altering decisions. In most cases, unless the stepparent has adopted the child, the biological parents retain full legal custody in the case of a marriage with a stepparent ending.

If this situation is like yours, you may want to discuss your options with your spouse and attorney. If you can't adopt your stepchild, then creating a parenting plan with you included might work.

Source: FindLaw, "Can Stepparents Make Legal Decisions for a Stepchild?," George Khoury, accessed Jan. 24, 2017

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Start Your Case Today

Whether you have a family law issue, an estate planning question or are considering bankruptcy, I can help you find a sustainable solution that provides relief and hope. Schedule your consultation at my Nashua, New Hampshire office today by calling 603-635-4149 or by sending us an email.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

email us for a response
Law Office of Paul Petrillo