Divorce can be a heart-wrenching process for families. This can be case for both biological and stepparents. A stepparent and child can build a strong relationship, especially over a number of years. There are many decisions that need to be made in the process of a divorce including financial decisions and division of property. Child custody is another issue which can become more complex when a stepparent relationship is involved. When the marriage ends, both the stepparent and child may wish to continue to the relationship. Often, the stepparent has been very involved in raising the child. Fortunately, a stepparent can work with family law court in many cases to establish visitation with the child or children.
Many family law courts recognize the importance of the relationships that develop between stepparents and their stepchildren. Family law courts in many states have provisions for visitation between children and stepparents. If you are facing a divorce and have relationships with a stepchild or stepchildren, you should work with an attorney. It can be difficult to get visitation because a family law court will seriously consider what the natural parents prefer.
There are a variety of issues the family law court will consider when it comes to establishing stepparent visitation. One is how involved the stepparent is in the child’s life. Also, how long was the stepparent a part of the child’s life? Was it a short-term or a long-term relationship? What about the emotional factor? How emotionally attached are the child and the stepparent? Is the stepparent is providing financial support for the child? How much? What about emotional harm to the child? Will cutting out visitation hurt the child?
What if you have established visitation with your stepchild but would like to increase the amount of time? This can be more difficult than the initial process of establishing visitation through the family law court. The family law court will consider a variety of factors in these cases. As always, the best interests of the child or children are the first consideration when modifying a visitation order. Strong consideration will be given to the biological parent’s wishes so this can make the process difficult.