Does Child Custody Extend to Stepparents?
Most of us know that parents do not need to be blood-related to a child to have a strong bond or to play a vital role in that child’s life, particularly in terms of financial support and emotional encouragement. When a child’s parents get divorced and one of them remarries, there is much to discuss in relation to having a new member added to the family. But do stepparents have the legal right to request or pursue child custody?
When a stepparent has established a parental role in a child’s life who is a minor and it is clear that the relationship is supportive, loving, and healthy, he or she may be able to claim certain rights pertaining to custody. In pursuit of child custody as a stepparent to a minor whom you have a good relationship with, the court will determine if there is in fact an “in loco parentis” relationship, which means whether or not your relationship with the child is like that of a parent. Most importantly, family courts will always make decisions based on what is in the best interest of the child involved in a custody or visitation dispute.
In many cases, a stepparent who has been married to the biological parent of the child they have helped take care of will be granted some form of custody or visitation. However, the grounds for such custody or visitation are greatly influenced by a number of family issues such as if any history of domestic violence exists, whether or not the other biological parent is involved, the relationship between the stepparent and the minor child, the location of where the stepparent lives, and much more.
If you are currently dealing with child custody and/or visitation matters with the stepparent of your child, or if you are a stepparent yourself and would like to learn more about your options for custody and/or visitation, the experienced Philadelphia child custody lawyers at the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz can help you. With our many years of experience in Pennsylvania family law and child custody, we have the skills and knowledge that you need in order to be successful in your custody efforts. Call the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz at 610-645-0100 today for a free consultation.
Source article: http://www.divorcenet.com/states/pennsylvania/pa_art12