Does A Stepdad Have Rights To A Child If…

February 26th, 2013 by John Schuman

Does a stepdad have rights to a child if they didn’t adopt them but the Childs last name was changed to the stepdads

I just answered that very question at a presentation I gave on Valentine’s Day.
However, the simple answer is that in Ontario, anyone can apply for custody or access to any child. So, you have the “right” to ask for either custody or access. The judge then decides what order is in the child’s best interest. The full list of the factors that judges consider in these cases are described here at How Do Judges Decide Which Parent Gets Custody of a Child?. However, in your case, the most important consideration is how close your relationship was with the children during the relationship.

If you were close, and the children viewed you as a parent, then you have a good case to ask for custody or access. If you did not have a great relationship with the kids then you may not get much time with them. Depending on the children’s ages, what the children want may also be a consideration – check out this podcast What say do children get and this article Consent to treatment and parenting .

Note – having a good case to get custody or access of your stepchildren likely means that your ex has a good case to get child support from you for those children. That topic is also covered in the first podcast above, and this webpage Can Your Ex Spouse Ask for Child Support. Cases involving children always revolve around the children’s best interests. What is in a particular child’s best interests depends on the specific facts of the cast. It is always best to talk to a family lawyer about your circumstances to learn about how the law applies to your particular situation and to find out what your options are. The lawyer should also give you some idea of the time and cost involved in getting what you want.

If you do not think you want to see a lawyer, then, at the very least, you should read this $20, easy-to-understand book on the Basics of Ontario Family Law that covers the issues above and many others Devry Basic Ontario Family Edition.

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