You don’t have to have a biological connection with a child for them to be a very important person in your life. You may love your stepchild as though they were your own.
You may have been present in their life for years and think of them as one of the most important people in your life. Unfortunately, if your relationship with their parent starts to fall apart, your ex may not be supportive about keeping you involved.
Stepparents who adopt their stepchildren have the right to seek shared custody and usually have to pay child support, too, if they divorce the child’s other parent. If you did not adopt your stepchild, can you still ask for visitation rights?
If it would be good for the child, then the courts may grant your request
California’s family law system focuses on children and other vulnerable people. When it comes to visitation or custody matters, the state tries to put the most emphasis on the best interests of the child involved.
If you have always had a close and parental relationship with your stepchild, continuing to be a part of their life via visitation would likely benefit the child. Even if your ex is not enthusiastic about your relationship, you could ask the courts to grant you visitation in accordance with state law.
That way, you have the right to maintain a relationship until your stepchild turns 18, at which point they have the right to choose for themselves. Learning more about custody and visitation rights in California can help you protect what matters most in your divorce.