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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?

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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
Replies (31-40):
by on Sep. 11, 2012 at 12:57 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?

in some states they already do! But they have more rights also.
by Silver Member on Sep. 11, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Quoting thickerthan:

Quoting momof2cuteboys:

I guess you can count me in on the list of confused people.  What are you really fighting for?  Are you legally your SD's guardian or not?  Did BM get her rights taken away and you filed for adoption?  If so then isn't your issue really and adoption problem?  

If SM had it her way she would have rights and leave me completely out of the whole equation... but I'm a very involved BM and I won't stand for another woman who wants to knock me out when I have done no wrong.  Marriage licenses should not trump birth certificates IMHO.  That would lead to a world of chaos.  I just have to say that I don't need SM to step into my position ever.  In fact she has recently been barred from taking our son to any eye or dental appts or filling out any paperwork because she leaves me off completely and puts herself as BM.  Which the mediation counselor found very disturbing.  I have to say as a CP mom with 50/50 physical and legal is very disturbing.

like I just quoted the mom below. My fights over. I've just seen too much of the courts system that works for the bp and not the children. If a CSP law were passed, say giving stepparents the rights to visitation if their spouse dies, that would keep the child/SP bond plus the half and stepsibs could still visit. So this is only for SP's if the spouse dies... if the BP is alive and they divorce SP then they don't get the same thing? The bill could also give a CSP the right to medical and dental.decisions. I really don't see why that would be needed. The rights to temp. custody if both bp were unable to care for the children and the rights to permanent custody if both bp passed on or the noncustodial parent was unfit. I could see the benefit of that... but what if there are two SP's?  Who gets the child? One very personal issue that I addressed in my case was that my DD was born during my marriage. As the wording in presumptive parenting laws does not exclude a woman I pushed that as strongly as I could. That's a whole other issue though. I had a SC born 3 months after I married my ex and I never wanted the things you wanted.  His mom is a great mom.  I am friends with her still.  And former SS still comes over to my house to visit. In fact BM#1 and her DH arewho my DH and I decided would be where all our kids legal guardians if DH and I passed away.  Even BF signed off on it if He and I were to well as DH.  
Wile all of this is possible now there are no laws giving stepparents these rights. There should be. Then when the custodial parent decides his/her spouse is trustworthy. Hopefully before they get married. The CSP could then be added to the custody order under those laws written.
Your case wouldn't count as a CSM case.. this is why I wrote this. To see the ideas of every one. You have 50/50. I guess im only talking about cases were one bp is th CP and the other is not. I'm still CP regardless of 50/50 that is how they do it in KS.  So if I die my DH doesn't matter just only if we didn't have 50/50? I would never want to disregard or disrespect a parent who had custody and was a part of the childrens lives other than just in and out or just spiting the CP. I'm glad to hear it and I know that it isn't the norm.  I wasn't that way when a SM.  I have friends who are still SM's and are baffled by SM's behaviours.
I guess I get where you are coming from but it leaves holes... JMO

by Gold Member on Sep. 11, 2012 at 2:32 PM
There's normally a reason a judge deems someone unfit enough to be NCP?

Did I read that right?

Someone has to be NCP and it's generally fathers.

As for step-parents having rights...

I think in MOST sitautions a stepparent should not have any parental rights to their skids. Why do I need that?

SD has 2 capable parents and that's plenty. I'm not getting stepped on. In fact, if I felt pushed into being legally responsible for a child I didn't create I would probably feel taken advantage of.

I have no rights to my SD and I am a very well treated stepmama. :)
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by on Sep. 11, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Quoting thickerthan:

Quoting laughnchica:

I read an article recently about how 23 states have enacted laws authorizing stepparents to petition for visitation with their stepchild if the BP dies or anything. I don't know which states those are but there there are states that are giving stepparents more of a chance to stay involved in their stepchildrens life.

I would love to read that. Anyway you remember the name?
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by on Sep. 11, 2012 at 5:47 PM
That's why its good if someone has a wil.

I don't think a csp should trumpet over a bp.

And I don't think you would want your dd csm to have rights either.
If the situation ever arose.

Quoting thickerthan:

Quoting liltigersmom:

You adopted her so she is your dd.

I'm not sure what the fight is for.

As for sp having rights, idk not sure if you're new here or not. But from I see, only a few bms/sms are off their rocker completely. Others I think its just different parenting styles.

I understand that completely. I just feel that step parents, custodial expecialy, should have more rights than they do for the safety, health and wellbeing of their stepchildren. That go's for men and women though I know this is a womans group! As the laws stand now, if one parent dies the other parent has no legal obligations to allow the stepparent, half or stepsiblings the rights to visitation with the children that parent had in commonwith the decieced. I know this my fight is basically over. But I've seen all the dirty nasties that go on in the step parents world. The whole reason I never wanted to be a step parent was I wasn't allowed to visit sometime my own stepmom after being placed in foster care. A woman I call mom who raised me for 9 years was taken away. The courts view only the rights of the birth or adoptive parents. The hide behind the guises of what's best for the children but a child emotionally see's the removal and strange placement as a kidnapping victim or abandoned child would. Of course it depends on age.

I'm not saying a total stranger who married a parent after two weeks should have rights. But a CSP certainly should.

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by on Sep. 11, 2012 at 6:13 PM
I dont need rights to be a fully involved csm.
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by Gold Member on Sep. 11, 2012 at 6:18 PM
Interesting.....God forbid something happen to my husband due to my stepson's bio mom passed away. If anything there should be some type of law for people in my sitch. I am the only "mom" figure he has and I have zero rights?! I guess I've been blessed cause I haven't had any problems with signing or anything like that.
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by Bronze Member on Sep. 11, 2012 at 6:48 PM
I do think stepparents should have right, I'm not exactly sure what they should be though. I was a NCSM in my first marriage and I'm CSM in this marriage. I stepsons from my first marriage are adults and I have a great relationship with them & their mom, but I would have been heartbroken if we had divorced earlier and I had no right to involvement in their life. It would be even worse now as a CSM and where BM is completely absent – if DH died and she came and took the kids I believe it would be devastating not only for me but for the kids. I am really troubled by the fact that I am a "legal stranger "and although I don't know what the right answer is I think there should be some provision in the law. We can put it in our will, but again that really has no legal bearing on custody or visitation of the children. The best we can do at this point in the event of death is make each other custodian of any life insurance proceeds or trust for the children at least that way BM or BF cant ruin the kids financially. I am a BM too so I think of it from the other side as well. If my DS had an involved SM, I would rather she continue as a positive role model in his life but again I'm not sure how far the "rights "should go. I think it's possible to make some sort of legal designation as a "deemed relative of minor child "or something to that effect so that the "legal stranger" term is done away with and at least the courts, CPS and others could view stepmoms as they would any other relative of the child.
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by on Sep. 11, 2012 at 6:58 PM
A stepparent does not need to be included in school functions and doctor appointments for a child to grow up in a healthy enivironent. I don't believe a steppparent needs to be a chauffer or tutor. The child's parents should be doing those things.

Quoting jreta:

I do agree that Stepparents should not have rights when both BPs are active in the childs lives.  But as far as stepparents not having a place to attend appointments or school functions I think that is excatly why Blended families have so much trouble.  I really dont see how there can be a healthy household and family atmoshpere when the SP is being seperated from certain parts of the childs life.  I am not saying that the SP should have the "RIGHT" but they damn sure should be given the choice to be included sometimes.  I do not believe all the posts that say that SMs should and are expected to be chauffeurs, after school tutors for homework and cooks.  Its these attidudes that drive the negative mentality that people have for SMs.

Quoting kristinbugg: 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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by on Sep. 11, 2012 at 7:02 PM
My ex is an ncp... Because my life is set up to be more conducive to parenting. I disagree with the concept that because he is "only" ncp and my dh can now replace him.

As a sm, I am content to let bm and dh have legal and medical rights. I have no need to take BM's rights. Bm and dh are 50/50. Does that mean she is a half bad parent?

You adopted your step. That is what makes you a parent with legal, educational and medical rights.

Finally, for many stepkids the fight to install a step as parent 2.0 is damaging. Especially when the bio parent is involved.

I can't imagine having some other woman thinking her marriage certificate gives her the right to overrule my parenting. And quite honestly, I care too much about my skids to subject them to that conflict.
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