You loved your spouse’s children throughout your marriage, and your divorce from their parent didn’t change your feelings for the kids. You may have nurtured, educated, and financially supported your stepchildren. However, unless you formally adopted the children (or had another form of legally recognized child custody), you had no parental rights during your marriage and you have no parental rights as a former stepparent.
Can You Still See Your Stepchildren After Your Divorce?
Michigan law recognizes you as a legal stranger to the children. You do not have the right to child custody. However, you may be granted visitation in some circumstances. For example, the court may order visitation if:
- The biological parent(s) agree to it. If you have been married for a long time, have a close relationship with your stepkids, and are going through an amicable divorce, then the biological parent may agree to your visitation request.
- You prove to the court that your stepchildren will be harmed if you are not granted visitation. The court makes decisions based on the best interests of the child. You may need to prove that the child would suffer some kind of harm without you. The harm does not need to be physical harm. Instead, you may convince the court that the children would suffer mental or emotional harm if you are not in their lives.
Additionally, the biological parent may decide to allow you some communication or visitation with the children without a formal court agreement.
Once the children turn 18, they may decide for themselves whether they want to continue their relationship with you.
How to Protect the Children You Love
You may face an uphill battle as a stepparent. However, our experienced Bloomfield Hills family law attorneys know how much you love your stepchildren. We will look at your rights from every angle and provide you with reliable information about what you may be able to do to stay in your beloved stepchildren’s lives. Please call us, text us, or complete our online contact form today to learn more.