Can I get child custody if the child chooses to stay with me? 25 Answers as of July 11, 2013

I was married for 7 years and never adopted my husbands 2 children from a previous marriage. Now we are divorcing. Can I get custody of the 13 year old if she chooses to stay with me?

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Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
If I assume the 13 year old is not your biological child, you can seek custody pursuant to ORS 109.119; but it would be a very unusual case for you to prevail. You might get some parenting time, but I would need to know more; and there is usually a lot more to the story than what is in the question.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 6/20/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Yes, there is a mechanism, but this is a complex issue that involves a third party, namely the child's mother. Where is she? What is her role in the child's life?
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/20/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
Unfortunately, since you are neither the biological or adoptive parent, no.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 6/20/2011
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
It is unlikely that you would be able to do that with a child who is not yours. Where is her mother?
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/17/2011
Palomino Law Firm, P.C.
Palomino Law Firm, P.C. | Debra Palomino
You can request parenting access with the children upon the basis that it is in their best interests.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 6/17/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    Not unless you have adopted her. Otherwise, she must go with her father since you have no legal right to custody of her and at 13 she has little, if anything, to say about it herself. Speak to a qualified matrimonial attorney about the matter right away. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A child never is able to decide where they will live under Minnesota law. In any initial custody proceeding, a court may consider the desires of a child that is of suitable age and maturity (usually age 12). However, the court must consider all relevant factors before determining what is in the child's best interests. If the children in question are not biologically your own, and you never adopted those children, the presumption for custody under law would be the biological parent where acquiring third party custody would be significantly unlikely absent issues that would indicate that the parent's custody endangers the child.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Michael Rose Attorney at Law
    Michael Rose Attorney at Law | Michael Rose
    Since the children are not yours, you will need the father to agree.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    If they are not your children, it is unlikely the child would be permitted to live with you without the father's agreement - no matter what she wants. There are some circumstances, in some states, where a step-parent might be given custody over objection of bio-parents, but generally that is very unlikely unless both biological parents are found to be unfit.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    What the child wants to do can be considered by the court but is usually the least important factor in the court's decision. Plus it is difficult to get this preference into evidence. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    It is unlikely, but possible. Further, it would be a quite complicated procedure. Since you are neither the biological parent nor the adoptive parent of these children, the only way that you could force the issue would be through a third party custody action. This would likely have to be filed separately from the divorce. Further, it would involve not only you and your husband, but the biological mother of the children as well.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    Yes. Oregon law provides: A stepparent who has established emotional ties creating a child-parent relationship or an ongoing personal relationship with a child may be awarded custody. There is a presumption that the legal parent acts in the best interest of the child. If the court determines that a child-parent relationship exists and if the court determines that the presumption described above has been rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence, the court shall grant custody, guardianship, right of visitation or other right to the person having the child-parent relationship, if to do so is in the best interest of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    It is not up to the child, it is up to the parents and the court. However, the court may consider what the child wants. The fact that you are not a parent of the child makes it much more difficult if your husband objects, especially if you want to be the primary residential parent rather than just have visitation. Talk to an attorney in your area about your specific situation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Child custody law is highly state specific. But given that you are neither the biological mother, nor did you adopt the children, it would be extremely unlikely for you to gain custody of the children. Please see a local domestic relations attorney to determine whether it makes sense for you to proceed to attempt to gain custody.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    Possibly. What state do you live in?
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    No, not unless he agrees, as well as the biological mother if she's in the picture. Biology rules in Florida (blood relations).
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    here is a link you may find useful: http://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/Notebooks/Pathfinders/ChildCustody/childcustody .htm
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    Generally, only a parent, including adoptive parents, would have a claim to child custody, but each situation is different, and you should therefore consult with a divorce lawyer about your divorce and child custody matter. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/17/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    No, you have no parental rights. Now, if you were to adopt her now, or obtain legal guardianship, you could file an Order to Show Cause for child support.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    That is a difficult and sensitive issue to deal with. I recognize that there may have been significant bonding between you and your husband's children, but if you did not adopt his children, you would not have the rights of a parent. The children's mother and father have parental rights regarding the children. Also, courts are reluctant to separate children from a marriage - they typically leave all the children with one or the other parent. I am not saying that you should not seek custody of the 13 year old, because there may be a long shot chance that if the facts support your getting custody, you might possibly get her custody, but you should certainly not count on receiving her custody.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Probably not since your legal status with respect to this child would be that of a former stepmother and the preferences of a 13 year old as to where she would like to live are not likely to be given much weight by a court deciding the best interests of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    If the child is not yours and you did not adopt the child, absent his consent, and the mother's consent, no.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Under Georgia law, unfortunately you do not have standing to ask for custody of child.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Probably not. You can file for stepparent visitation, but it is very difficult to get. If you are close, however, it is worth a shot. If your ex doesn't fight it, you might get what you want.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
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