Blended families are common in New York, as people enter a marriage with children from previous relationships. In these marriages, stepparents often play the same roles as any biological parent, getting kids ready for school, picking them up at the end of the day, taking them to appointments and helping to make important decisions for them.
However, all these duties do not necessarily give any legal status to a stepparent. As long as everything is going relatively smoothly, this may not present a big problem, but it can lead to a heartbreaking situation in the event something goes wrong.
In the eyes of the law, a stepparent is little more than a stranger to the stepchild. Should the stepparent disagree with the biological parents about education, legal issues or medical decisions, the stepparent generally has no recourse. If the marriage ends, the stepparent’s relationship to the child ends. Furthermore, the stepchild generally has no right to inherit from the stepparent unless the stepparent has specifically provided for it in his or her will, and the stepchild may be shut out of Social Security, life insurance and other policies and benefits that they would have a right to if their status was legalized.
To learn about the ways to avoid these problems, speak to a lawyer about stepparent adoption.
Note that adopting a stepchild may require a biological parent to terminate his or her parental relationship. If that parent agrees to the decision, this is a relatively straightforward process. If not, the process can be very complicated.
Helping Stepparents And Children
The Law Offices of Kristine M. Demo-Vazquez, P.C., in Rochester, New York, helps stepparents, grandparents and others with visitation and child custody issues so that they can do what is best for the children.
Our attorney has helped many stepparents and stepchildren through adoption and other often complicated processes. Our attorney’s goal is always to protect our clients and the best interests of the children, so that their relationships can stay strong.