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As step-parenting becomes more of the norm , why do we still b**** about not having any rights and not do anything about it?

Posted by on Sep. 10, 2012 at 4:25 PM
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I never wanted to be a step-mom. I asked my current husband if he had kids before I dated him. He didn't, that was great! Yes, I have kids of my own. Now I have two more. Ones a step daughter who I love with all my heart. She showed up at 5 weeks old and her BM is very undependable. So badly that we got custody. Yes WE! AS IN MY DH AND I! AT 7 months old my sd had a visit with her BM. The neighbor called the cops because of a baby crying nonstop over an hour. We can only guess how long DD was alone. No formula. No diaper change. But it was long enough to leave sores on her from the urine and dirties. We estimated it was about six hours.
So I took her to all appointments, my DH worked outside of the home. I worked at home. The BM threw a fit. She never paid a dime of support. In fact it was me that payed a grand for birth costs
The county tried to charge my DH half of the birth cost. I told the CS worker no, the BM refused to tell him she was pregnant, CS had not gone through a the paternity process within the 3time months of after the birth where our insurance would have covered the full amount -our 1000 deductible . So we would only pay that. She had little choice but to agree to it.
I won't deal with being a step-parent. I am a mom. We now have an open adoption with the BM's parents. I've adopted my sd and have full rights. But just the other day my own DH got on me for saying the BM's name to DD instead of referring to her as your time mom or something of that sort.
I realized I still have to fight. So why doesn't anyone stand up and start a petition for a law. For more rights for step-parents so we stop getting STEP-ped on. I know there has to be a frustrated man or woman always of some power who could start something. I would sign a petition giving stepparents whose spouse had custody the rights to sign doctor and hospital forms school forms attend all functions. Do what we all do anyways only without a fuss. Stepparents should have the right to keep the children when the other parent passes away. But most end up in foster care if the other parent is seen as unfit. Even when it splits up half or stepsiblings the states don't care. Sometimes this happens if the other parent is just hospitalized or go's to jail for a time.
I have no clue how to start something like this other than to speak up. Then I just picture that old cartoon about how a bill is passed. Anyone else ready to speak up?

EDIT: Now that I've seen so many great opinions I have ideas for this spinning.
NOTE: I never meant for this to be a thing going against any 50/50 custody situations. Or any situation were both birth parents and stepparents got along and really cared about all the children involved.
I'll use my case as an example. We have 6 children at any given time in our custody. 3 are my bc, 1 my adopted child, 2 are our nephews plus the grandparents of my ad have her half sister. My ex husband. Has no custody of our 3 never pays CS. Hasn't seen them in over 3 years. Yet I can't get a judge to take his parental rights. So my husband and I had to go through a CPS to make sure that my kids stayed with him and his sister if something happened to me.
My 2 nephews have been with us our whole marriage also. My SIL has full custody of the oldest and her and I share 50/50 of the youngest. Both bf are MIA.
My ad go's to see her grandparents and half sister everother week for 4 hours.
As you can see we've done our best to see that the childrens best interest is met. If there were laws for stepparents we wouldn't have to go through the red tape, cost the taxpayers money to look into my exhusband and run background checks though our part was taken care of when I adopted my DD. The idea I have is to make it so the cp is responsible for making his/her spouse the designated person who would signpapers, take over in emergencies, be the children's godparent in the will. Of course it wouldn't trump the rights of a fit NCP. But there's normally a good reason why a judge deems a parent unfit enough to be a NCP.
by on Sep. 10, 2012 at 4:25 PM
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by on Sep. 10, 2012 at 4:34 PM

I think it's different between NCSMs and CSMs.

As a CSM: you live wih the child. I believe you should be considered a legal guardian/parent what-have-you. You should be able to sign forms, take them to doctor's offices, ect.

For a NCSM: the chiild is their on the weekends or whatever the custodial schedule is. I don't think a NCSM should have any "rights" or any involvment in things such as doctor's, school, ect.

I think it would be a scary world where an unrelated person can get right to your kid. I really don't think SMs should have rights. Maybe it'd be more convenient for a CSM to have an extension of her husband's rights but no actual legal rights unless she adopts.

by Le Bonjour Chat on Sep. 10, 2012 at 4:40 PM
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Why would you have to fight?  She's your daughter now if I understand your post.  Wouldn't she then be with you if for some reason, God Forbid, something happened to your DH?

by Platinum Member on Sep. 10, 2012 at 4:43 PM
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I wouldn't want rights to kids that are not mine.  I have kids, I don't need or want responsibility for my skids.  That is what DH and BM are for.  I have taken the kids to open house when neither BM or DH could.  I have taken them to doctor and dentist appointments, its called a POA.  You don't need legal rights to kids to chauffeur them to a teeth cleaning.

by Platinum Member on Sep. 10, 2012 at 4:50 PM
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Quoting sandeeyo:

Why would you have to fight?  She's your daughter now if I understand your post.  Wouldn't she then be with you if for some reason, God Forbid, something happened to your DH?

That is something that I do not understand with regards to fighting, either.  You adopted her, therefore she is your DD, legally.  BM is still her birthmom and you are her adopted mother.

by Gold Member on Sep. 10, 2012 at 5:07 PM

That's a slippery slope. 

I'm a CSM, but I don't want rights the kids.  In the past four years, not being a legal guardian has only been an issue one time with SS at the hospital for consent to test (just an xray).  I shuttle around, handle appointments, talk to teachers, etc., but I don't see my role as mom ever.  Advocate? Yes.  Mentor? Yes.  Mom?  No.  They're not my kids.

Also, NCP is not synonymous with bad or dead-beat parent.  BM often gets the kids by default.  How would you explain to BF that SF has the same rights he does simply because of residency?  That's horrible.  In my situation, even though BM had a lot of growing up to do and was at one point incapable of being a good mom, she's become a pretty good mom!  I feel like I'm finally able to step back, throw a bone her way, and let her handle the heavy lifting.  And she wants to, which is totally awesome, because it gives me some of my life back.  I think if I had rights, it would not only be an obstacle for her emotionally (because she'd feel even more excluded than an NCP often does already), but just think how that could enable a hostile CP to leave the NCP in the dark about things.

by on Sep. 10, 2012 at 5:38 PM

There are many many situation where BM is not the CP but is still an active role in the child's life. I have a friend who is the BM who doesn't have custody of her daughter but see her every other weekend and her ex extends offers to let her help make decisions even though he doesn't have to. In those situations and things like that no I think the step parent should not have equal rights however there are always other cases.
In mine BM has no contact at all. My DH has temp full custody, which will soon be a CO of sole custody. I am in your position OP where my DH works full time with crazy hours. My SD is going though a lot right now and has sooooooooo many appointments a week. DH cannot take that kind of time off. I am at home being the main caregiver and am the one who takes her to and arranges for these appointment. And boy have I faces a struggle. I have a copy of all records/letter/police reports...the list goes on. I have a letter from DH giving consent to whatever they want which I am able to pull out but half the time people are like well ummm I don't know. Let reschedule so he can attend. Even after I explain 14 hour days 6 days a week they still get iffy.
Now because most of the programs we use are use to us they just go with it. But yes it is a huge fight when no BM is around to do it.
Now before everyone attacks me for stealing BM role or what have you please know that this is not the case BM has removed herself from our situation and volunteered to give up rights to a third party agency because of abuse and stuff.  This is a very complex situation but not uncommon.
The only way I can see getting around all this crap would be do adopt my SD but we are not at or even close to that place. Although yes I love my SD more then anything I do not feel it to be the best option for her at the time.  Special consideration to situations like mine and yours would be nice but it would is a slippery slope and take a long long time to do anything about.

by Member on Sep. 10, 2012 at 5:44 PM
Hmmm...interesting. If they get divorced would the SM have to pay CS and get visitation? Would her income be counted in child support calculations? In other words, would SMs have legal rights AND responsibilities?
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by Silver Member on Sep. 10, 2012 at 5:50 PM
I am also adopted her so what rights do you still need to fight for?
by on Sep. 10, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Quoting Kat31:

Hmmm...interesting. If they get divorced would the SM have to pay CS and get visitation? Would her income be counted in child support calculations? In other words, would SMs have legal rights AND responsibilities?

If they were to get the right I think they would be very involved in the child's life and upbringing which would mean they are emotionally invested in the child life and provided for all in all I would think they should have to pay child support and all that jazz

by on Sep. 10, 2012 at 6:06 PM A stepparent does not need rights to a child whose BPs are active and able to attend appointments and school functions. A stepparent has no place at either of these things.
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