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A stepparent’s rights to involvement with their stepchildren

When a Kansas stepparent is involved in the daily life and raising of their stepchildren, they may want to take certain steps to make the relationship work. Around 40 percent of married couples with kids are blended families. The stepparent’s involvement in their stepchildren’s lives can be positive, negative or even complex at times. That’s why it’s important to understand their legal rights.

Stepparents often have to deal with practical daily issues like discipline, health care and communication with teachers. While the divorce or custody decree may lay out specific guidelines for how certain matters are to be decided by the parents, a stepparent may still be responsible for making sure that the children follow their curfew, do chores around the house and take care of their homework.

In addition, stepparents who live with the kids at least some of the time can review school records. It can be important for at least one biological parent of the children to file written permission for the stepparent to pick up the children from school. It is also important for at least one parent to provide a medical consent form so that a stepparent can secure health care for the children, especially in an emergency situation.

After a divorce or even the death of a biological parent, a stepparent may lose legal rights to engage with the children. This is one reason why many stepparents seek to adopt their stepchildren. Stepparent adoption is typically not permitted when both biological parents are part of the child’s life; however, it can be an important solution when one parent is deceased, has abandoned the kid or has had parental rights terminated. Parents and stepparents can consult with a family law attorney to find solutions that support the involvement of loving stepparents in a child’s life.