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Do Stepparents Have Any Rights to the Children?

In the past, stepparents who wished to spend more time with their stepchildren might have been out of luck when the court sided with the biological parent who wanted full custody. However, Ohio law has quite recently been altered to provide more rights for people who were involved in children’s lives. Ohio Revised Code § 3109.051 specifies that in a divorce, the court may grant reasonable companionship or visitation rights to any grandparent, any person related to the child by consanguinity or affinity, or any other person other than a parent.

Divorces often bring up ugly emotions, such as bitterness, rage, and resentment. This Ohio law prevents a biological parent from reacting to these emotions and refusing to allow a stepparent to see a child he or she may have been raising for years.

However, keep in mind that though, as a stepparent, you might have the right to visit your stepchild, it is not automatically granted. You need to file a Motion with the Court requesting visitation with a minor child. As the applicant, you must also be able to prove that visitation is in the child’s best interest.

A child’s best interest is a broad descriptor of what would be the most ideal situation for a child in his or her particular circumstances. For example, if a stepparent raises a child, it would be in the child’s best interests to not think he or she has been abandoned by one parental figure. Likewise, the court might find it preferable for the child to spend time with his or her stepparent rather than spending time at a daycare while the other parent is at work.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not a stepparent gets visitation is determined by the court. Your best course of action is to hire a skilled West Chester family law attorney who is used to handling similar family law cases. The Meadows Law Firm can fight aggressively on your behalf for your right to stay in your child’s life. Our lawyers have more than 20 years of experience to offer your case, and we are available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Let us see what we can do for you.

Contact us at our office or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.