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I am planning on marrying a man who has a child in a previous marriage. Is there a way to make me a permeate step mother?

Castle Rock, CO |

The father is the Custodian Parent of the child and the child lives with him for 9 months out of the year. The Child's mother has his for 3 months. I don't believe she would allow me to have complete rights over her son such as adopting the child, but if my soon to be husband dies and the child is underage, would I have rights to him legally and have custody just like his father? GOD forbid anything like that to happen, but if it were, I would want to carry on being a step mother to his son. Is there anything I need to do (sign papers) or is marriage enough and I would legally become his parent? Not sure how any of this works. Power of Attorney?

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

You ask such an imortant set of questions. Bless you for caring so much about these kids. As Mr, Littman has written, however, you really have no place in the children's lives legally if your spouse passes.

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.

Posted

The long and short answer is that a step parent rarely has legal rights to a child. When the parent dies, the other parent usually assumes care for the child. If she were not to do so, you would be in a different position. You can only adopt him if the biological mother is willing to relinquish her legal rights or if she abandons him. It sounds like this has not happened. There is no such thing as a permanent step parent. Good luck to you

Asker

Posted

Could I fight for some custody time with my step son against the mother? Could a power of attorney signed by the father give me some sort of rights. I love my step son so much and if given the chance the mom would viciously take him without me in the picture. Would I have a chance to have the same custody as the father? or would I only be allowed visitations. My step son is a Colorado resident like I am and the mom is a Virginia resident...

David Littman

David Littman

Posted

Your husband could identify you in his will as the guardian for his son. While this is not binding on a court, if he also allocated a sum of money to be used to retain counsel, you might be able to obtain some parenting time in the event of your husband's death. The older the child is, the better the chance of his staying with you.

Asker

Posted

So how would that work to constrain parenting time in that event? How could a legal counsel get that?

Posted

Step-parents do not have the same legal status as legal parents. Your relationship with the child's mother will probably benefit if you keep this in mind. If your husband passes away, the child will likely go to live with his mother. If she allowed him to stay with you for six months with the father gone, you would gain standing to seek a custody order. However, if that did not happen, you would have no legal rights.

You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or info@Harkess-Salter.com. Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.

Asker

Posted

Both the child and I are Colorado residents like the father. She is a Virginia resident...

Stephen Clark Harkess

Stephen Clark Harkess

Posted

That simply means that any custody case will need to be heard in Colorado. It does not give you legal standing to seek custody. If your husband dies, there will be no custody case. The child will most likely be moved to Virginia at his mother's request. The Court will only recognize one mother. Unless the woman in Virginia agrees to allow you to adopt, the Court will recognize her and not you.

Asker

Posted

Could I file a case for custody in Colorado?

Stephen Clark Harkess

Stephen Clark Harkess

Posted

Only if you have legal standing to do so. Generally, in order to have standing, the child must be in your custody without his father for 6 continuous months. If that ever becomes the case, then you would have standing to file for custody.

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