Pittsburgh Stepparent Rights Attorney
Stepparents who have adopted their stepchildren have a right to be in their lives no matter what happens among parents.
Across the country, blended families provide excellent homes for children. Stepparents, or parents established through marriage, often legally adopt their spouse’s children. When this occurs, the stepparent has the custodial rights of a biological parent. In the event of a divorce or separation, they are allowed to fight for their rights by seeking custody or visitation. Unfortunately, it is a different story for stepparents that choose not to adopt their spouse’s children.
If you are a non-adoptive stepparent attempting to gain custody, you are likely worried about losing the opportunity to raise the child you have grown to love. The Pittsburgh custody lawyers at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC understand how complicated these situations can be. With years of legal experience, attorney Anthony Piccirilli has helped many people navigate the legal system. He will work relentlessly for your custodial rights so you can remain a part of your child’s life.
Call (412) 471-5100 today to see how the relationship with your child can be maintained.
In Loco Parentis
Unless another relationship to the child can be established, a non-legal parent, such as a stepparent that has not adopted their spouse’s children, has no rights in regards to child custody. This means that the stepparent is not required to pay child support in the event of a divorce. Further, a child has no way of collecting inheritance or family benefits from a non-adoptive stepparent. This can create serious issues, as many children are emotionally attached to their stepparents.
However, Pennsylvania law contains a term that acts to grant parental rights to stepparents. This doctrine, known as In Loco Parentis, states that any stepparent can achieve true parental status without going through the process of adoption. This can only be done with the permission of the child’s biological parent. The factors that determine whether a stepparent stands in loco parentis vary from case to case. If this status is granted, however, the stepparent is allowed to seek custody or visitation.
Establishing Custody or Visitation as a Stepparent
Once a person is established as a parent in the eyes of the law, they must convince a judge that having custodial or visitation rights would be in the best interest of the child. One of the most effective ways of proving your suitability as a parent is showing that you and your stepchild have a loving relationship. If the child has an emotional connection to a stepparent, the court may determine that continuing the relationship would be beneficial to the child’s well-being. Another factor to take into consideration is the bias that exists against parents who are legitimized through in loco parentis. While a judge may show favor towards biological parents, custody orders are always based on the child’s best interest. This can mean denying legal rights to biological parents.
Contact Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC Today
Trying to gain custodial rights as a stepparent can be a daunting task. It may be too late to legally adopt your spouse’s children because of a separation, and the court may see you as an outsider with no connection to the family. Luckily, there are ways to become established as a parent with the help of an experienced attorney.
Pittsburgh custody lawyer Anthony Piccirilli knows that these situations can be stressful. He believes that the key to winning your case is getting to know you and highlighting the positive role you fill in your child’s life.
Call (412) 471-5100 to see how you can gain the rights you deserve.