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DO STEPPARENTS HAVE ANY RIGHTS TO THE CHILDREN?

Posted: June 17, 2017

In Missouri, a stepparent’s ability to make decisions on behalf of a stepchild is quite limited.

Unless a stepparent legally adopts a stepchild, he or she do not have a legal right to make legal and medical decisions on behalf of their stepchild. In addition, stepparents have no right to make a decision regarding what school the stepchild attends. Alas, the decisions and opinions of any stepparent cannot overrule the rights of a biological parent or guardian to make choices on behalf of their children.

However, a stepparent owes a stepchild the same “duty of care” in their home as with any child who is visiting or staying on the premises. But in the event of an emergency situation that occurs in the stepparent’s home, he or she still cannot give legal authorization for medical treatment of a stepchild without the biological parent(s) or legal guardian(s)’ consent.

While biological parents and legal guardians may have the legal right to make decisions for their children, they are also obligated to provide financial support for their kids as well. In many cases, a stepparent may feel as though he or she is paying for expenses which are the responsibility of the biological parent. In order to resolve the issue, at stepparent would need to take the child’s biological parent to court to see if child support payments need to be modified or readjusted.

The situations mentioned above are unique in stepfamilies, which can also be quite stressful to a marriage and result in divorce. When a divorce is final, a stepparent has no role in the child’s life anymore, which means child support cannot be ordered.

If you are a stepparent living in Missouri, consider adopting your stepchild with the legal help of our Springfield, MO family lawyer at Worsham Law Firm today.

Categories: Family Law