According to studies, 40% of American adults have at least one stepparent. However, when relationships don’t work out between a child’s stepparent and biological parent, stepparents often wonder what sort of rights they have in Texas.
Do stepparents have rights in Texas?
Unfortunately, stepparents in Texas have very few rights when it comes to the guardianship of their stepchildren. This is especially true when those children have two biological parents playing active roles in their lives. Stepparents become considered “interested third parties” according to Texas family law, which means they must petition the court just like anyone else with no legal rights to the children.
What if you adopt your stepchildren?
If you adopted your stepchildren after marrying their biological parents, they’re not legally considered your stepchildren. In those situations, you have all the rights a biological parent has after a divorce.
Is adoption the same thing as legal guardianship?
As a stepparent, you may receive legal guardianship of your stepchildren without adopting them. Adoption severs the ties between a child and his or her noncustodial parent. Legal guardianship doesn’t give a step-parent the same rights as a legal adoption.
Can I get visitation with my stepchildren?
Stepparents rarely receive any court-ordered visitation following a divorce. Even though stepparents often play pivotal roles in the lives of their stepchildren, most courts do not see them as individuals with a legal right to visitation.
But all hope is not lost. While divorces can certainly take an adversarial turn, you don’t have to let that be the case with yours. If you and your ex can keep your divorce amicable, he or she may allow you to remain in the lives of your stepchildren after your divorce.
There are several reasons for stepparents to remain present in the lives of their stepchildren. Working with your ex not only provides you with that opportunity but may also make the end of your marriage easier for your stepchildren.