Step-Children Custody Could Be Difficult to Obtain
Video Transcribed: Hello, my name is Jason Lile, and I am an Oklahoma father’s rights attorney. One question I get that comes up with the frequency of blended families these days is, can I get custody, when I divorce, of my stepchildren?
The simple answer is no. Unfortunately, as a stepparent or a stepfather, you do not have any claim to custody of a stepchild.
With that short answer being given, I will say there are situations where you can make an agreement, an informal agreement with the mother, that you will visit that stepchild. However, you being a stepparent means there’s probably a biological parent involved. They can refuse to honor that agreement. The mother can decide she no longer wants to honor that agreement, and there is no way to enforce it. That informal remedy is undesirable, to say the least, but it might be the only thing available, so it’s worth putting effort into if that’s all you have available to you.
The last option with which I have some experience is adoption. If it is the case that before you divorce you want rights, it’s possible that you bring in adoption, although that is unlikely to be successful because the only way that you could get an adoption through, even if the father, the biological father, has rendered the child eligible to be adopted without his consent, the mother might not consent.
In Oklahoma, in order to get an adoption without one of the parent’s consent, that parent has to not have been involved at all, not even so much as a birthday card for 12 of 14 consecutive months or paid no material support for that same amount of time. If the father’s in that situation, you might get an adoption without consent pushed through. But if the mother who you’re divorcing is not going to consent, you probably won’t. It seems rare to me that the mother who you’re going to divorce would agree to an adoption. It also seems very likely the judge would reject it because why would the judge want to adopt a child into a family that’s immediately going to get a divorce?
It’s a very hard question. It’s a very hard problem. Unfortunately, the answer is most of the time, no, you do not have the right to have custody of your stepchildren.
If you have questions about this or any other problem in a family law matter, my name is Attorney Jason Lile, and I am a Tulsa child custody lawyer in northeastern Oklahoma. I can be reached through my contact information at Dads.Law and I would be happy to consult with you.