Stepparents often play an important role in the lives of their stepchildren. They are the spouses of their stepchildren’s parents, and though they generally do not hold any legal rights regarding the care and support of those kids, they can form attachments that are important to their relationships. In California, the divorce of a stepparent and child’s parent can be devastating for all of the parties involved.
If a stepparent has not adopted their stepchild, they may fear that they will never have a relationship with them again after their divorce. Under California law, this may not be the case. This post will generally discuss visitation for stepparents with their stepchildren after divorce. This post is informational in content, and readers should seek specific advice from trusted family law attorneys as no legal guidance is provided herein.
The best interests of the children
Like many other jurisdictions, California recognizes the best interests of the child standard when making decisions about child custody and visitation. If maintaining a relationship with a parent or other adult is in the best interests of the child, then the court may extend visitation rights to that adult. This holds true for stepparents as well.
However, it is important that readers remember every case of custody and visitation is determined based on its own facts and circumstances. Visitation for stepparents in California is not guaranteed under the law. Stepparents often must prove why it is important for them to remain in the lives of their stepchildren in order to secure visitation rights with them.
Fighting for stepparent visitation rights
When facing divorce, a stepparent can fight for visitation rights with their beloved stepchildren. They can choose to petition for this right and to present a case to show why it is in the best interests of the kids to maintain their relationship through visitation. Stepparents can seek the counsel and advocacy of family law attorneys in their communities to help them advance their visitation goals.