What Are Your Rights as a Stepparent After Divorce?

If you have a partner who brought a child or children from a previous relationship into your marriage, it’s quite likely that you grew close those kids during your marriage. Now that you’re facing divorce, there’s no surprise that you’re wondering whether you have any rights, such as visitation rights, once you’ve finalized your divorce.

Are Stepparents Entitled to Visitation Rights in Texas?

According to Texas law, stepparents have no visitation rights after a divorce. Instead, Texas law views stepparents as interested third parties. Although not a guarantee, stepparents can petition the court to request visitation.
If you choose to petition the court, some items that may work in your favor to gaining visitation are having been involved with the child for many years or having financially supported the child.
It’s important to know that, as you are a third party in this situation, the biological parents have the ability to fight your request—and they have the upper hand in the eyes of the court. If the biological parents give the green light, however, the court will likely grant your petition and create a visitation schedule based on the child’s best interests.

How to Request Visitation Rights as a Stepparent

As a stepparent requesting visitation rights after a smooth divorce, you may be able to work out visitation with the custodial parent of the child. If so, create a visitation schedule together. If not, you’ll need to let the court know that an agreement could not be reached. The next steps are as follows:

  • Create a petition: Each state is different in its requirements for petitioning for visitation. You’ll want to disclose your visitation schedule if applicable plus any requirements set forth by the state you reside in.
  • File the petition: File the petition for visitation with your court clerk.
  • Attend a hearing: A judge will need to review your petition and determine whether or not they should grant visitation.

Again, each state is different in its requirements for requesting visitation. In Texas, we recommend reaching out to our experienced child visitation attorney for assistance in filing your petition.

Get Help Pursuing Your Stepparent Rights Post-Divorce

As a stepparent greatly involved in your stepchild’s life, there’s nothing saying you can’t seek a continued relationship with that child after your divorce. To learn more about your visitation rights, send us a message.