Do Stepparents Have Custody Rights

Do Stepparents Have Custody Rights, stepparent visitation rights, rights of stepparent in divorce, can i get custody of stepchild

Do Stepparents Have Custody Rights

Stepparent Custody

In California, if you have a stepchild through marriage, and are divorcing the biological parent, you generally will not have custody rights unless you have adopted the child.

Stepparent Visitation

In some instances, you may be able to request stepparent visitation under Family Code 3100 et seq.

Family Code 3100 Et Seq

California Family code 3101 (a) states, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court may grant reasonable visitation to a stepparent, if visitation by the stepparent is determined to be in the best interest of the minor child.”

What is Reasonable Visitation?

Reasonable visitation will be granted based upon the best interests of your stepchild.

Under California Family Code 3011, in deciding what is in the best interests of your stepchild, courts may consider a variety of factors.

Factors That Determine Best Interests

1) The biological parents’ ability to care for your stepchild

2) The emotional relationship between you and your stepchild

3) The emotional relationship between the biological parents and your stepchild

4) Whether there is any history of domestic violence by you or the biological parents

5) The age of your stepchild

6) The duration and adequacy of your stepchild’s living arrangements; AND

7) The health of your stepchild

The courts will also consider the amount of time that you have spent with your stepchild.

If you have been a significant parental figure in your stepchild’s life for a long time, the family law courts will be more likely to grant you stepparent visitation rights.

Custody Rights Will Not Be Granted if it Conflicts with Biological Parent

If the biological parent you are divorcing shares custody with the other biological parent, the biological parents custody and visitation rights will precede yours in Court.

See Family Code 3101 (c) Visitation rights may not be ordered under this section that would conflict with a right of custody or visitation of a birth parent who is not a party to the proceeding.

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