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I am hoping to get some advice.

I am the step-father of a seven year old girl, her biological father now resides overseas.  I am trying to determine what legally my rights should be and if my wife can apply for orders giving her full responisiblity for her daughter.

My wife has a daughter with a previous partner, she left this partner when their daughter was 6 months old due to verbal abuse, threatening behavior and intimidation.  Six months later we got together and have been together ever since.  Her daughter is now seven years old.  We have been married for two years now and are thinking of having children of our own.

The father has caused numerous problems in our lives and because of that they are now on their fourth set of court orders.  Their is a long history of conflict from the fathers side, he is very controlling and when he does not get what he wants he uses whatever means possible to make things difficult.  They have negociated the court orders 4 times now due to him not being happy with what he has agreed to, he makes a habit of interpreting the orders in his best interest.

Two years ago the father decided that he wanted to move to another country with his then girlfriend.  Since then they now have a daughter of their own. 

I guess what I am wondering is if we can establish orders that limit or eliminate any contact the father has with his daughter, and establish that I am her father.
The biological father (bf) can give up his parenting rights by consent.

The mother can get sole parental responsibility for the child if the bf is endangering the child, ignoring her needs deliberately and sometimes in cases where the relationship has been extreme and high conflict.

It is rare that a person would be ordered not to see their child ever unless they are a risk to the child. You might find it difficult to understand but you daughter may express a desire to know her father or sister more as she gets older and if you get orders where she just never sees them she will not have the chance to know them. I have question, does your daughter see the bf's parents at all or be in contact with them? Whatever happens it would be important to leave this door open for your little girl.

I would find it difficult to find a situation where the father would be stripped of his rights and you would named as the father if he has orders consent orders that include him in child's life, has had contact and has contributed to the child's upbringing.

As a stepparent you have no rights, you are legally a stranger. It doesnt matter if you are a person who contrubutes to thier lives everyday, pays for them and loves them.

Last edit: by monster


Rarghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Han Solo routine "We're all fine here, thanks. How are you?" *weapons fire* "It was a boring conversation anyway!"
Monster,

I understand what you are saying but I find it extremly frustrating.  Other than fathering her the bf has had very little involvement in her life other than to cause problems to the mother.  I have lived with her as a father for 6 of her 7 years.  She calls me dad, and has almost 0 contact with her bf or his family except for a monday night phone call.

I guess in my mind the law can be very backwards in terms of step-parents.
Regardless of what the bits of paper say, their is a high likelikhood the child will be curious about and want to have some contact (even the regular phone call) to her father.

Given the contact and court orders, it is unlikely you would get gaurdianship of the child. To adopt, you would need consent from the father.

It is more likely the mother could go to court and successfully apply for sole parental responsiblity. It sounds like she has that by default anyway, so you'd have to wonder about the effort and expense of doing that.

Better the current situation, than one with no contact that creates the scenario of an idealised absent birth father.

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