If you are getting a divorce in California and you have stepchildren, you generally do not have rights to maintain custody unless you have legally adopted the child or children. In most cases, the biological parent’s rights will be enforced over yours. There is no automatic right to stepparent visitation unless the court determines that it is in the best interest of the child or children that you be given court ordered visitation.
What Is Stepparent Visitation?
Family Code Section 3100 explains that a judge may grant reasonable visitation rights to anyone who has interest in the child’s welfare. Thus, a stepparent who has developed a lasting bond with his or her stepchild may be granted certain rights to visit the child.
In order to be granted stepparent visitation rights, the court must determine whether you have legal standing to request visitation with the child.
California Family Code Section 3101
California Family code 3101 (a) states, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the court may grant reasonable visitation to a stepparent, if visitation by the stepparent is determined to be in the best interest of the minor child.”
Therefore, if it is determined by the court that reasonable visitation is in the best interest of the child, visitation, but not custody, can be granted. However, this visitation cannot interfere with the rights of the biological parent, even if the biological parent is not a party to the divorce.
California Family code 3101(c) states, “Visitation rights may not be ordered under this section that would conflict with a right of custody or visitation of a birth parent who is not a party to the proceeding.”
If you are a stepparent and are in a divorce proceeding and wish to keep your stepchild in your life, you need to hire a California divorce attorney to help you to enforce your legal rights. An experienced attorney may be able to help you prove that it is in the best interest of the child for you to be granted visitation rights.
Call Wallin and Klarich Today
With over 30 years of experience successfully fighting for stepparent rights during divorce cases, the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich are here to help you.
With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, one of our knowledgeable attorneys are available, to help you no matter where you work or live.
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