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Stepparent Rights In Florida Divorce

StepAdoption

If you are one of the numerous Florida stepparents who adores your stepchildren, you will likely be dismayed to hear that you have absolutely no rights regarding those children in the event you and your spouse divorce.  That’s right—Florida law does not recognize stepparents and their relationship with a spouse’s children, regardless of the length of the marriage, the relationship between the parties, or the parenting role you may have played during the marriage.  So what are your options if you wish to maintain contact with stepchildren after the dissolution of your marriage?

What can you do?                                                                                                                                        

Your lack of legal standing in this situation may seem dismal, but there are other options you may want to consider going forward.  Enlist the assistance of an experienced local attorney to pursue the following:

  • If your former spouse is against involving you in the kids’ lives, think about inviting the children’s other biological parent in the discussion. In some situations you might be able to get that parent to share custodial visits.
  • Consider working with the extended family like grandparents, aunts, or uncles, or perhaps even close friends of your former spouse. With their influence, maybe there will be a change of attitude.
  • Provide your ex with information supporting your reasons for wishing to continue contact with the children, with the best interests of the kids at the heart of your argument.

What’s your rationale? 

While plenty of stepparents are more than happy to walk away from the kids, that’s not you.  Even so, if your former spouse is averse to the idea of visitation, you could be left high and dry.  Winning that person over is going to be crucial to getting time with the kids.  Help them to understand that, although the marriage didn’t work out, you have deep ties to the children, and they to you.  Eliminating meaningful attachments could be devastating for the children.  In particular, children could suffer a great deal if you have been a part of their lives for a significant time period.  Instead of cutting you off, try to convince your ex that your involvement in their lives could be a positive factor in their growth and development.  Critically, the concept of kinship is important here. If the children view you as family it is likely they would prefer to continue the relationship into adulthood.  Unfortunately they, and you, are at the mercy of your ex.

Fighting for Best Outcomes 

At WiseLieberman, our experienced Boca Raton divorce attorneys are dedicated to fighting for the best possible outcomes for you.  To discuss the possibilities, contact our office for a confidential consultation today.

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