What rights does a step parent have? 6 Answers as of June 27, 2013

My fiance' is currently taking his son's mother to court for more time with their son. The mother currently has sole physical custody and they both have joint legal custody of the child. The mother is constantly in and out of the hospital due to issues related to asthma. While she is hospitalized, she never informs my fiance' and leaves their child with different relative as opposed to with his father. The judge just recently ordered mother to inform my fiance' of every time she is hospitalized and that their son is to reside with his father until she is discharged. This is great!. The mother is now engaged and has plans to be married. When she is married, will this affect my fiance's rights as the biological parent? Will the new step-parent be responsible for caring for the child when mom is in the hospital instead of my fiance'? Thanks for your answers.

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John Russo | John Russo
No, the stepparent has the same rights to the child as I do , none, what your fianc? should have done, and hopefully did, was when this last order was entered relevant to the child being with dad when mother is unavailable was a clause that is called, "Right of first refusal", i.e. when its that parent's time to be with the child, and for what ever reason they cannot be, then they have to offer that time to the other parent first before making any other arrangements, this just adds teeth to the order. Also different jurisdiction play with the custody terms but in reality what the mother has is only placement, this sole physical stuff is fluff, the real way of phrasing their arrangement is, Joint custody, placement with mother. Good Luck, but if she tries pulling leaving the child with her husband just take her back to court, its a pain I know, but this is what happens when one of the parents puts their feelings ahead of whats in the child's best interest, and that is to be with one of their biological parents, end of story not rocket science!
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 6/27/2013
Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
A step-parent has no rights over a step-child. Even if there is a step-parent in the picture, a natural parent has superior rights to the child. When mom is hospitalized, even if she is married, dad will still have a superior right to parent the child over a step-parent.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/27/2013
Law Offices of Jill K. Whitbeck
Law Offices of Jill K. Whitbeck | Jill K. Whitbeck
The marriage will not effect the court order, which stands until it is changed by the Court. The mother would have to bring a motion to modify the order based on her marriage. However, in general, the court prefers that a child be with a natural parent, when that parent is available, before being left with anyone else, even a step-parent.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 6/27/2013
Elizabeth Jones, A Professional Corporation
Elizabeth Jones, A Professional Corporation | Elizabeth Jones
No. The bio dads rights will remain the same.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/27/2013
Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
A step parent has no rights, and the remarriage has no effect on the court order. The order would stand as is until it's changed, so if it says the child is to reside with the father while the mother is hospitalized, then that's the way it would remain and the father would have the right to enforce that.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 6/27/2013
    Ronald Main & Associates | Tracian M. Laignel
    Not unless the court order is changed to reflect that. If the court says your fiance gets custody of the child when mom is in hospital then your fiance gets custody. A new order would have to be entered for the child to stay at home with the step parent.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 6/27/2013
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