To stepmothers...a question please

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If a child is living with a parent and a step=parent does the step-parent have any real LEGAL rights to make decisions for the child? Does the actual biol parent have to sign, say, medical consent or school papers? How much leverage does a step have, other than the love and support they give their stepchild. I am REALLY thinking only of legalities here as I know we have several amazing steps on our board.
  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Unless it's in writing, a step-parent has no rights about anything in regards to the child.

    And unless the parents have joint legal custody, permission must be granted from the custodial parent (usually Mom), and you can guess how well THAT flies when you're married to Dad. been there done that.
  3. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green rights at all. If being included on a custody agreement is not an option, I THINK you can get by with some sort of POA from one of the parents as long as that parent has legal rights also. To be sure though, I would consult a lwayer.
  4. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    husband can sign difficult child 1 out of school. Dr will let husband take difficult child 1 to his appointments and set up appointments. They all know us through. I'm not sure if they are really supposed to do that.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That is true but I wonder how often places actually check those things. I know we never had anyone actually question any of us on who was who on the parentage of our kids and our names are different.

    Im not going to give actual names here but just for example...Say I am Janet Smith and then we have Tony Jones. Since Billy is from my first marriage he is also a Smith. So we have

    Janet Smith
    Tony Jones
    Billy Smith
    Jamie Jones
    Cory Jones

    Now no one has ever asked me if I am Jamie or Corys legal mother nor have they ever asked Tony if he was Billy's father. Even with Keyana she is a totally different last name and we have taken her to the doctor before and no one says a thing,
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Depends. Just because step parents shouldn't, doesn't mean people don't let them mainly because the paperwork is a major PITA.

    I've sought medical treatment for katie multiple times and signed all paperwork. No one asked any questions. Most likely because our last names were the same so they assumed I was the bio mom. And I held her insurance card which was via husband.

    I'd imagine a step dad would have much more issues.

    But if you're well known, sometimes people let it slide even if they shouldn't. Depends on where you live and the circumstances.
  7. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    There's so many remarried parents or divorced moms that take back their maiden name (but the kids have to keep father's name) that no one blinks at parents and kids having different names any more.
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There's two parts to this - and I think the question concerned the first consideration, not the second, but... here's the two parts:

    1) LEGAL rights? none. Not unless all custodial parents (for a minimum) have agreed to give you legal rights, via POA or whatever. If bio-parents have shared custody, or if the other parent has the custody rights... then unless other-bio-parent wants you to have legal rights, you don't get them. This really affects the ability to speak on the childs behalf at formal meetings (IEPs... ), make critical medical decisions (start/stop care, etc.), signing paper work... those kinds of things

    2) PRACTICAL rights? some. For example - signing a kid out of school? As a parent, I can authorize all sorts of individuals to do this... grandparents, an uncle, the babysitter... so, yes, if your S/O can do it and gives the school (or whoever) for you to do it, then you're fine with these kinds of things. You can support your S/O at meetings, even be the "front-man" in the discussions... There's lots you CAN do.

    But it gets really murky. Not everything is clear-cut.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the feedback :)
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    As far as school, at least here there MUST be a copy of the custody order in the child's file. The custodial parent or parents can put names of anyone they want to be able to pick up the child on file. This is how daycares can pick up kids. If there is no copy of the custody order, the child is not allowed to leave school until it is there. I know because it caused a very late evening for one of the office people at the elem school because neither parent bothered to drop off the order when they registered the child. It was a year ago that this happened. First day of school the parents had been warned that they could NOT pick up the child and child could not go to daycare or with anyone at all until they had the order filed. Our schools demand teh custody order if parents are divorced and usually they won't even let a child attend until it is on file. Now husband and I have never had to show our marriage license to prove we are not divorced or anything, and either of us can sign off on anything at the school. I guess if the parent said that they were married and were the bio parents then they could get around it.

    As far as medical care, it depends on the facility. I have kept a note at my parents that has ins info and says they have permission to take the kids for any medical treatment neccessary. Back when we lived out of state and they took the kids for a week or two in the summer some years they had to have that or they couldn't get medical care for them. Here they ask, and again demand copies of custody orders. When Wiz went to live with my parents I went and gave notes to the doctor's office and the school. I got a couple of calls about did I really mean that they were allowed to authorize this or that, but mostly that was all that was needed.

    If a step parent just doesn't act like the child is not their own, many places likely would not ask. One of the big things is will the step pay the bill - if yes then some places just don't care. Years back, when I was a kid, my parents' bff's son was ALWAYS hurting himself. He did the stupidest stunts and by age thirty was told that the next serious head blow would kill him - not just one doctor's opinion, three diff neuros looked at his MRI and were shocked he was walking, talking, breathing and not wearing diapers. This kid hurt himself that much and not just his head - has broken at least every major bone including his hip (twice) and each rib multiple times. My parents took him to the ER many times and either claimed him as one of us or else said they were his aunt and uncle (which they basically were - my dad was the only real father he ever had in spite of all his mother's marriages - she is now on number nine though there were only seven guys). Back then no one asked about if they could prove the relationship - usually they were far too worried about treating the kid than about who was signing the forms.

    With step parents the other parent, if they have shared custody, can raise an unholy fit and keep the step from doing much as far as medical care, school. But it is murky water - not all places will care as long as the step parent is decent to the kid.
  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    From my point of view...

    Legally, I still have zero rights. Except when I wave that General Power of Attorney... Which essentially makes me husband, legally.

    Practically speaking? No one has EVER questioned me (except bio)... Docs, school, juvenile court... No one. One, I share the same last name. Second, I carry multiple photocopies of the POA and just hand them over with medical card, etc. So it's not really an issue. Now, when we first took over residential, bio complained that she had to show the custody order to everyone. Well... husband is STILL having to do that, even now (they used to have shared parenting...). Strangely, I've never had to... Hmm.

    I mentioned bio questioned me. She actually told the schools (back when she had residential) that my POA was worthless. The schools looked at it and rolled their eyes. She complained to her lawyer that it was illegal for me to have the POA. And shortly after that, she quit saying a word...

    But... Steps can't do a whole lot.