Unfortunately, when couples divorce, parents have few legal rights when it comes to step-children they have been raising.
While you do have standing to seek custody or visitation, the court will require that you show extraordinary circumstances to warrant an ongoing relationship with your step-children.
This can have tremendous consequences for children who may be much more bonded to a step-parent they live with than they are to their natural parent, who may be far away or who may have chosen not to be very involved.
In these circumstances, we encourage you first to try to work out an arrangement with your spouse that allows for visitation.
If the marriage produced children and your spouse refuses to allow you visitation with your step-children, you may encounter the heartbreaking circumstance of being available for your kids, but not your step-kids.
If you and your spouse can’t agree and you believe that the welfare of your step-children will be negatively impacted if your relationship is effectively severed, you do have standing to pursue relief.
The attorneys at Zelenitz, Shapiro & D’Agostino can help with your divorce.
Call us today at 718-523-1111 to speak to an experienced Queens child custody and parental rights attorney for free.