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Will my fiance have any rights to my children once we marry?

Atlanta, GA |

I have two sons, niether belong to my fiance. I want to know exactly what rights would he have and will he be their legal guardian.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. No. He will be their stepfather. The children's legal custodians are you, their mother, and if they were born in wedlock, their father. If they were not born in wedlock, then they may still have two legal parents if 1) the father married you after they were born and held them out as his own or 2) if he subsequently legtiimated them. The children's soon-to-be stepfather will have no right to custody of or any obligation to support your children by another man, unless he adopts them (which would require a surrender by the father of his parental rights or the termination of his rights by a court of competent jurisdiction).

    This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as nor does it constitute legal advice. This answer does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Do not rely on this answer in prosecuting or defending against any criminal or civil legal action. Speak to an attorney in your area about how to protect yourself and your interests.


  2. He can never have any rights unless you consent to it in the future. You could consent to him adopting your sons. You could give him voluntary guardianship. If he adopted them, and then your divorced, he could obtain custody because by consenting to the adoption you gave him the same rights as the biological father had. None of this could be done without terminating the rights of the biological father.
    So, if you do not wish for him to have such rights, he will not, and you do not need an attorney.

    I am exclusively a family law attorney, practicing primarily in the metro Atlanta, Georgia trial courts. However, I handle appeals from anywhere in Georgia.


  3. He will not have any rights and will not be their legal guardian; he'll be a legal "stranger" to the children. The only way a child's step-parent can have any rights to a child is if that parent adopts the child.

    The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. It does not constitute legal advice. Nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between the individual posting the question and the attorney providing the answer.


  4. He has no rights or say-so over them whatsoever unless, after the marriage, he adopts them (which will require an adoption case and either consent of the father or termination of rights).

    - Glen Ashman - geaatl@msn.com - .................. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you. Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in this email is tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein.


  5. The short answer is - NO. Once you are married he will be your two sons Step-father. A step parent does not have any automatic legal right to custody in Georgia. If he Adopts the boys after you are married, then he will have all of the additional rights and obligations that go with being a natural parent. In order to Adopt the boys their natural father would have to Surrender his Parental Rights or have his Parental rights terminated by the appropriate Court. After you are married the natural father will still have the obligation to provide child support for your sons. I hope this information has been helpful. Good Luck and Best Wishes in your new marriage!

    The information provided in this response to a question is not legal advise and is provided only for general information purposes. My response should not be taken as legal advise as no attorney / client representation exists. Additionally, the information given in this answer is specific to the State of Georgia only and should not be applied to any other state.