Southern California Family Law Blog

step parent child custody and visitation

Are you a step parent seeking child custody or visitation?

The general rule is since a stepchild is not a child of the parties’ relationship; Inland Empire courts have no jurisdiction to entertain a stepparent’s custody request.

There are some ways to getting around excluding step parents from getting custody in the way that the forms are submitted to the Inland Empire family court. For example, if the custody request is worded in such a way on the original petition, it would give the court subject matter jurisdiction to make findings of step parent custody. In addition, the Inland Empire family law court may enter a stepparent custody order in favor of a party to a dissolution proceeding by stipulation of the parties.

Stepparent Visitation Rights

However, the Family Code expressly empowers trial courts to adjudicate stepparent visitation claims in domestic relations status actions.  In a dissolution, legal separation or nullity action, the court may grant reasonable visitation to a stepparent provided that the stepparent visitation is determined to be in the child’s best interest.  Stepparent’s visitation rights are secondary to the birth parent’s custody or visitation rights.    The Inland Empire Court will not order stepparent visitation to the extent that it would conflict with the custody or visitation of a birth parent who is not a party to the proceeding.

Call Wallin & Klarich Child Custody Attorneys in the Inland Empire

Therefore, it is important to have a knowledgeable Inland Empire family law attorney assist you in this process since it is very complex.  Wallin & Klarich has more than 30 years of experience in family law. Our attorneys know from long experience in custody cases, and are prepared to fight to get you the best possible outcome. With 16 attorneys in 33 offices throughout Southern California, we can be there when you need us — wherever you are. If you’re thinking of hiring an attorney for a custody matter, call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a consultation.

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