What are the the steps of starting the stepparent paperwork when you’re about to get a divorce from wife?
2 attorney answers
In the facts you've described one possibility is to initiate a non-parent custody petition (this is separate from the divorce petition) to try and secure residential time with your step-child. I would not wait until after the divorce to do this. But most everything around both divorces and non-parent custody petitions are heavily fact-dependent and at the Court's discretion. The ideal is to achieve some kind of agreements on each through negotiation. I agree that you should have an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the process.
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The step-parent adoption process is an entirely different lawsuit. If you are divorced from the mother (or in the process), it is highly unlikely that you would achieve that. There is a theory that you could seek being established as the psychological parent but that is again a very difficult process. Your question does not tell us how long you have been married, how old the child is, what contact if any the biological father has had, etc. You will need to consult with a good family law attorney in your area.