What legal say does a stepmom have?

Brittney - posted on 09/25/2014 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I live in Indiana if that helps. I'm not the stepmother yet, but when I am, what legal rights will I have? I have been told I won't have any. But my stepdad took me and my brother took the doctor, went to parent- teacher conferences and everything. Granted my biological dad wasn't around. I have been in my stepsons life since he was born (dad and i were friends long before we got together). My fiance and I have talked about this already. If my fiance passes away, I still want to be allowed around my stepson. Is there anyway I can become a legal guardian without taking away moms rights? So that I have a legal say in his life? Would she have to agree to it? Or would it be the same as a custody hearing? (I don't want to take custody from her.) If the father consents then could I become a legal guardian??

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Ev - posted on 09/25/2014

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But it is really dependent on a lot of things including how much investment is made, the relationship of the child to the step parent, and so on. You could still present the case as you have here and the judge could still deny you what you want. But here where I live, the step parents have to watch where they do things. My ex and I have joint custody and with that means we decide the things for our kids and step parents have to abide what we decide only in the case of their step mom right now she thinks she can just jump in and tell us how to do things. I do not tell her how to run her house so she does not need to tell me and him how to do our visitation for example. If its my weekend its my weekend and she has to deal with it. If I do not agree to her doing something because I think its not in the best interest of my kid, she can not do it. But I do not have a problem with her signing for say field trips so much as I would her signing for surgery.

Brittney - posted on 09/25/2014

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DCS has been called (not by me though.) And the woman that they sent out there did nothing. She actually told the mother that I was the one calling even though I wasn't. She gave misinformation to the mother. Then she called my fiance and accused him of abuse. And I have checked with a lawyer. If the judge thinks its in the childs best interest then they can grant visitation for a step parent. Especially if the step parent played a major part in the childs life.

Ev - posted on 09/25/2014

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And if that is all that is in the court orders then that is all YOU do. You can not legally do much else. And until someone proves her unfit such as calling family services to check her out and gets investigations rolling there is not much YOU can do. And you better check the laws carefully. I do not know of any state that allows a step parent the rights of visitation if they divorce the bio parent or the bio parent dies. Usually the child goes to the other parent and its is up to them to decide if the step parent has any need to be in that child's life. I have seen my ex marry 2x after me and right now the current wife thinks she has say in what goes on with my son. But here she has no legal obligations to that. And if my ex were to die and my son was to become solely mine, she has no right to visits at all.

Brittney - posted on 09/25/2014

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Actually in Indiana step parents can get visitation if they divorce the bio parent or the bio parent dies. And I know you don't know the whole situation. But everyone who does thinks she shouldn't have any custody. Her own family says shes unfit. We have found drugs in the babies diaper bag. And she lives with a verbally abusive bf. I realize I sound like I am nitpicking or being a b*tch. She has primary physical custody and he has joint legal. The judge ordered them to work up to joint physical custody. In the court order it says I am to watch the child if both parents are absent.

Ev - posted on 09/25/2014

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~~~ I'm not the stepmother yet, but when I am, what legal rights will I have? I have been told I won't have any.~~~ In most states no, you do not have legal rights in concern to the child. As far as say doc appointments you would have to have written permission from at least dad to take the child for appointments. My kids step mom has gone to parent-teacher conferences but she can not sign things as she has no legal means to and can not be granted guardianship.


~~~I have been in my stepsons life since he was born (dad and i were friends long before we got together). My fiance and I have talked about this already. If my fiance passes away, I still want to be allowed around my stepson. Is there anyway I can become a legal guardian without taking away moms rights?~~ In most states if not all, and depending on laws where you are the only way you get to be a guardian of this child is if mom is proven unfit by courts and has supervised or no visitation or has lost her rights because of being unfit. And it would be up to her if you would be allowed to be around her son if your fiance were to pass away. You have no legal right to this child unless mom's rights are revoked, she agrees to sign them away and you are allowed adoption under the law.

~~ So that I have a legal say in his life?~~~You would never get legal say in his life unless the above things I mentioned happened.

~~ Would she have to agree to it?~~As long as mom has custody of the child, you would not be allowed to be a guardian of the child and she would not have to agree to anything you would want in regards to her child.

~~Or would it be the same as a custody hearing? (I don't want to take custody from her.) If the father consents then could I become a legal guardian??~~THere would be no custody hearing. And if mom has sole custody or majority custody in a joint custody situation, he would not be able to name you as a legal guardian.

THE ONLY WAY you could become a legal guardian is if mom lost her rights for abuse or neglect or some such and dad chose you to be a legal guardian and you went through the courts to get it or if mom lost rights and you were allowed by the court to adopt the child, only then would you get any kind of custody or guardianship that would allow you to make choices in regards to the child's life legally.

Does mom have legal full custody or does she share joint legal custody?

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