Does a stepparent have any child custody rights after a divorce?

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Does a stepparent have any child custody rights after a divorce?

My stepdaughter is 15. I’m wondering if I have any rights to her if I divorced her father. Or does she have the right to refuse to live with him?

Asked on June 15, 2011 under Family Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, unless you adopted her during your marriage to her father you have no rights to visitation after you are divorced.  And that can indeed be devastating to both you and her if you have forged a relationship during the marriage.  May I ask: where is her natural mother in all of this?  Is she in the picture at all?  Then if your step daughter does not want to live with her father she can ask to live with her Mother. If his divorce and custody agreement precludes that then I would say that she may have to ask the court to allow her to voice an opinion on the matter and re-visit it.  She needs to be practical and indicate her true reasons for not wanting to be with her Father anymore.  The fact that he has rules that she does not like is not a good reason. But wanting to be with your Mom as a girl gets older may carry weight.  Good luck to you.


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