I had raised my stepdaughter for about a year, she instantly recognized me as mommy and even called me that, she is only 3 right now. My husband and I are divorcing, should be legally divorced end of this month. He took off with my daughter (legally step-daughter) to south dakota. He only got full sole custody from bio mom (who has a lot of issues and mental health problems) because I was the only stable parent in her life. There was a CLR involved and my ex-husband has a record of child abuse, and both her bio mom and my ex had the kids taken away by Colorado State a few years ago. What are my chances of getting full sole custody? Is it too late to try? Bio mom apparently lost custody of her other 2 kids to her own mom and currently has my daughter bc her dad didn't want to care for her.
I think that timing is a key issue here. Why are are asserting a claim now when there was a divorce process that recently concluded? Most often step-parents have limited rights, but recent Colorado appellate cases suggest that you may have a chance. This type of case will be very costly in terms of legal fees. You might consult with Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center or Metro Volunteer Lawyers.
We do not have "de facto" parents in the State of CO. You are the child's stepmother. Only the father (your husband) and the biological mother have any parenting rights to the child. Your husband legally took off to SD with his own daughter. If you have not adopted the step-daughter, you have no rights to fight for parenting time or parental responsibilities of her. I know that it sounds brutal, but it is the law in CO and in most states. If the biological mother had her parental rights terminated and you then had adopted your step-daughter, this would be an ENTIRELY different issue and you would be able to be considered her mother and be able to argue for parenting rights and parenting time. However, it does not sound like you ever adopted her. Without an adoption, you are not recognized by the courts to have "standing" to claim parental rights or responsibilities for her. It is extremely unfortunate, but that is the difficult situation that you find yourself in.
The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are interested in his legal services, feel free to call Chris at (303) 409-7635 at his law office in the Denver Tech Center. All initial consultations are free of charge.
Sign up to receive a 5-part series of useful information and advice about child custody law.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline