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Kardos, Rickles & Hand Bucks County Divorce Attorney
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Stepparent Rights In Pennsylvania


According to Pennsylvania law, it is possible for individuals other than the biological parents of a child to seek custody. An individual, such as a stepparent, who has assumed the responsibilities of raising the child over time could seek partial custody if a couple chooses to divorce.

Another question is if stepparents have a responsibility to provide financial support. While some level of support could be added to a divorce agreement in some circumstances, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled that stepparents do not have to pay child support. This means the payments will not be ordered by the court. If you have questions about your unique situation, talk to a Bucks County family attorney.

Stepparents Can Pursue Partial Custody Rights or Visitation

If a stepparent spends a lot of time with their spouse’s children, they may sue the custodial parent for custody. Partial custody could be awarded, particularly if the two individuals divorcing shared joint roles in caring and upbringing the kids.

In the event that the custodial parent denies the request or blocks partial custody, visitation could be pursued. Depending on the situation, this could include weekend visits and shared holiday time, for example.

Sometimes, a stepparent right dispute comes to light when a custodial parent passes away, not through the process of divorce. There are times when a stepparent can obtain custody, even if another biological parent is alive. Blood relatives could dispute a stepparent being awarded primary custody, but if they have been supporting a child emotionally and financially for years, it could be a possibility.

Different Levels of Support

Spousal support could be awarded if the financial situation points to one individual in need of financial support and the other person clearly able to afford it. That said, the obligation of a Pennsylvania stepparent to provide child support does not exist. It may occur in very rare situations, but it is far from the norm.

Because of this, a stepparent’s financial situation and income will not be assessed in regards to child support. That said, finances are assessed to determine how assets and debts will be divided and distributed.

Whether you are a stepparent who wants to pursue visitation rights or a custodial parent who wants to establish primary custody, a Bucks County family attorney can help. An experienced legal professional can share the details of Pennsylvania law with you and let you know what you should expect as your divorce moves forward. There are many issues to consider, including how much time the stepparent spent caring for the children emotionally and financially as well as what the custodial parent plans are once the divorce is finalized.

Is your spouse the stepparent of your children? Are they pursuing partial custody or visitation? A skilled lawyer has the experience to secure the future you are seeking. The family law attorneys at Kardos, Rickles & Hand help. Our dedicated legal team understands the finer points of family law. There are opportunities to create the life you want. Schedule your consultation today, call 215-968-6602.

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