Can I add a stepparent to my custody papers?

I have sole custody of my 11 year old daughter. Her biological father has visitation rights and pays child support. I am asking if my husband of 11 years can be added as custodial parent along with me. I don't want her biological father to have to give up his rights because my daughter still does have somewhat of a relationship with him. I just want to add my husband to the custody agreement. Thank you!

Watertown, NY -

Attorney Answers (2)

Mary Katherine Brown

Mary Katherine Brown

Family Law Attorney - Brooklyn, NY
Answered

No, the problem is that your husband isn't a legal parent, so he cannot become a "custodial parent". If he adopts, then he would become a legal parent and he could also become a custodial parent. He cannot adopt as long as the biological father's parental rights are intact. You may be able to designate your husband as a stand-by guardian in certain circumstances, but this is something you should discuss in detail with an attorney. Good luck!

Ms. Brown may be reached at 718-878-6886 during regular business hours, or anytime by email at: marykatherinebrown@... more
Lourdes Pilar Rosario

Lourdes Pilar Rosario

Family Law Attorney - Syracuse, NY
Answered

Generally, petitions for non-parent custody require a showing of extraordinary circumstances for a non-parent to even have standing to seek custodial rights. From the facts you relay, it seems this does not exist. My next question would be what you are trying to accomplish by having step-dad on custody papers. If access to school/medical records and personnel is the issue, this can easily be accomplished by signing a release with the respective facility. Best of luck to you and your family!

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