Do Stepparents Get Visitation?

As a stepparent, you may be wondering if you have any legal rights to visit your stepchild in the event of a divorce or legal separation. The answer to this question depends on several factors, including whether you have adopted the child or not. In general, however, courts will consider the best interests of the child when making a decision about visitation rights.

This means that if it is in the child's best interest to have a relationship with both parents, then the court is likely to grant visitation rights to the stepparent. However, if there are concerns about the safety of the child, then the court may deny visitation rights. If you are considering adoption, this can give you some important legal rights as a parent, including visitation rights. Talk to an experienced family law attorney to learn more about your options and what is best for your situation.

Divorce in New York

The grounds for divorce in New York are grounds based, meaning that a spouse must prove grounds for the divorce. The five grounds recognized by New York courts are abandonment, cruel and inhuman treatment, adultery, separation for one year, and when the court finds grounds for divorce have been present for at least 6 months prior to filing.

After grounds have been established, the divorce process can begin. This process typically begins with both parties appearing before a judge to sign documents concerning equitable distribution of assets and property division into an agreed-upon settlement. At this stage of divorce proceedings in New York state, child custody and visitation arrangements as well as child support agreements may also be entered between spouses. It's important to note that, individual courts may render different decisions depending on specific factors involved in each child custody case.

Stepparent Rights

Stepparents generally do not have automatic rights when it comes to visitation of the children they helped raise, although in some cases the court may grant them generous visitation rights. A stepparent cannot become a legal parent solely by marriage and raising a child—instead, the stepparent would either need to adopt the child or get permission from the other biological parent (in cases involving divorce).

Factors that can influence the court's decision on whether to grant visitation rights include how long the stepparent has been involved in parenting and how much of a bond has formed between the child and stepparent. It is of particular importance to know that if two people are married at any point during which time a child is born, then even if divorced afterward, both parents still have full custodial rights over that child regardless of whether one of them is their current step-parent. Ultimately, custody decisions are up to family courts, who will consider all factors objectively before making their determination.


Adoption can be a legal way for stepparents to gain parental rights over their stepchild. Depending on the laws of the state, and after the adoption process, stepparents may have full parental rights and responsibilities. This includes legal decision-making ability, guardianship decisions, and legal access to the child’s medical records. State laws also vary on whether or not stepparent adoption will affect visitation and custody arrangements from a previous marital relationship.

Contact Our Attorney

Divorce can be a difficult process for all parties involved. However, it is important to understand your rights as a stepparent in order to ensure that you have a relationship with your stepchildren. If you are considering adoption, there are many factors to consider before making this decision. Ultimately, the best interests of the child should be taken into account in any custody case, but it is important to retain legal counsel.

If you are a stepparent considering adoption or visitation contact Arnel Law Firm.