Rights of Step-Parents in Texas
Step-parenting is a role that affects not only the relationship between the primary parents (biological or otherwise) and the step-parent, but also the relationship between the step-parent and the child. In Texas, the rights of step-parents vary, depending on their involvement in the child’s life and the primary parental relationship.
In parenting disputes in Texas, the court is guided by the best interests of the child in determining custody and visitation. If the child is a minor, no individual – even a step-parent – has a right to custody or visitation with the child, unless granted by a court order. If a step-parent is particularly involved in the child’s care and seeks visitation, the court may grant it.
If the step-parent is married to one of the primary parents and the parent and step-parent have been married for at least six months and desire to adopt the child, the step-parent may legally adopt the child in Texas.
In Texas, a step-parent does not have a financial obligation to support the step-child unless the step-parent has legally adopted the child. If a step-parent has adopted the child, the step-parent has the same legal duty as the primary parent to provide financial support.
Shared Rights and Responsibilities
In Texas, step-parents often share the same rights and responsibilities as the primary parents. This includes the right to:
- Consent for medical treatment for the child
- Register the child for school
- Make medical decisions for the child in an emergency
- Inquire about the child’s school record
- Inquire about the child’s medical records
- Restrict access to the child
Once the adoption process is complete, the step-parent is legally the child’s parent, and has all the same rights and responsibilities as the primary parent.
Step-parenting is a unique, and often challenging, role. Depending on the primary parenting arrangement, step-parents in Texas may or may not have certain rights and responsibilities. Taking the time to understand the particular circumstances can help ensure the best interests of the child and the step-parent are considered.