Many step-parents seek rights and protections within the legal system to safeguard their relationships with their step-children, but no bloodline exists.
What many step-parents often lack is the right to be heard by a court on an issue. In most cases, jurisdiction is not granted to hear cases between parents and step-parents involving custody disputes over a step-child.
Consideration of standing involves determination of several factors including:
1. Degree of step-parent’s participation in the child’s life.
2. Length of time step-parent participated as actual parent for the child in place of the child’s natural parent.
3. Existence of any emotional ties between step-parent and step-child.
4. Amount of financial assistance provided by step-parent.
5. Degree of detriment to child if step-parent denied visitation.
A court is more likely to order visitation after a divorce if the step-parent meets several of the factors identified in determining standing. If the step-child expresses a desire to see the step-parent on a regular basis, this is also viewed favorably by the court.
Many courts view step-parent visitation status on the basis of whether continuing the child’s relationship with a step-parent enhances the child’s life and approves his or her welfare, according to the website, attorneys.com. It must be demonstrated that continuing the relationship is in the best interest of the child.
Step-parents are likely to face difficult challenges in custody and visitation battles and may have questions. The Akron law firm of Slater & Zurz LLP welcomes questions from step-parents facing visitation and custody issues. Please call 1-888-760-8958 or send your questions from the following website: www.dissolutionanddivorce.com
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