When you marry someone who already has children, it can be difficult to predict what will happen. While it is a complicated family law scenario in some cases, we will make it as simple as possible by breaking the possibilities down into two results. Either you will experience difficulty truly bonding with your stepchildren or you will fall in love with them and think of them like your own kids. It is the second possibility that we want to talk about.
As long as your marriage is going well and no divorce is on the table, loving your stepchildren carries no risk. However, if marital troubles occur and divorce is the only answer, you risk losing the children you have come to love as well as your spouse. As we mentioned above, the topic of stepparent rights is a tough one in legal terms. Unfortunately, no ready answer exists for divorcing stepparents who want to maintain their loving relationship with the children.
Proactively, you should take steps to secure your rights as a stepparent shortly after you get married. This will protect your relationship with the kids if something occurs to drive you and your spouse apart. For guidance tailored to your specific family situation, it is wise to talk with an attorney about what you can do to remain a part of your new family should divorce ever occur.
If your marriage is on the rocks and it is too late to take a proactive approach, a family law attorney may still be able to help. Your lawyer can help you search for ways to acquire visitation rights even if you or your spouse has already filed for divorce. Please visit our family law pages for additional information about divorcing in New York.