As a step-parent going through a divorce can be extremely difficult when there is a stepchild involved. If you never legally adopted the child, then it will be difficult to get visitation rights, let alone custody over the child. This is done because the interests of the biological parents are put before the interests of any stepparent. However, there are a few tips you can use if you decide to file for visitation rights for your stepchild during a divorce.
Prove to the Courts That You Have Been Involved In The Child's Life
If you have known your stepchild since they were a baby and now they are a pre-teen, then this could work in your favor. If you have been involved in the child's life for a number of years, this is a good indicator the child views you as an essential figure in their life. Therefore, it is important to show the court proof of this. Pictures of you attending school functions, reports from parent-teacher conferences and other documents can serve as concrete proof. It is not enough to have just known the child, but you also have to be active and involved in raising the child.
Prove to the Courts That You Are In the Child's Best Interest
One of the few ways in which you may be able to acquire visitation for a stepchild is if you are able to prove to the courts that you are in the child's best interest. This means that you are able to provide the child with some type of benefit that the biological parents cannot provide on their own. The courts look over a number of factors, including emotional and financial support, when determining the child's best interests.
Ask Your Spouse for Visitation Rights
If you and your spouse are divorcing on good terms, then you may be able to ask them for visitation rights for your stepchild. It is ultimately up to the biological parent to decide who is allowed to spend time with their child. As a result, if they view you as an important figure in the child's life they will be more willing to grant you visitation rights.
It is often advised to legally adopt the child if you plan on taking on the role parenting them. Dealing with visitation rights concerning stepchildren can become extremely tricky. Therefore, use these tips to fight for visitation rights for your stepchild. For further assistance, contact a local family law attorney, such as one from Thomas & Associates, PC.