Visitation of Step Parents

by Anonymous from Florida

I am the step father, my wife has full custody of the daughter and the biological father has joined the military.

They have worked out a custody agreement giving her full rights and him rights when he is not deployed or his parents claiming the times when he is not available.

Now his current wife is saying that the "power of attorney" she signed says she gets to maintain his personal relationships and so she should have his visitations. Is there any legal issues with this?

Answer to Florida Child Visitation Question

Dear Anonymous,

In general stepparents have no rights whatsoever in relation to their stepchildren.

A stepmother is married to a father, that's all.

Unless she was specifically designated by a court order that she should have visitation, then she does not have any standing.

A power of attorney is enough for her to do certain things while her husband is deployed, like manage his bank account, sign for him, etc.

But a power of attorney does not give her the right to maintain his parental relationships with his children.

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Comments for Visitation of Step Parents

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Denying Visitation From Stepfather
by: ADM from Riverview

I am the stepfather of two children ages 10 and 8. The custodial agreement signed at the divorce was 50/50 parenting visitation switching parents every week on Friday. I have been married to the mother and the children's stepfather for the past 3 years. At this point only minor modifications have been made to the custodial agreement, the parents have removed Thursday Dinners, and the right of first refusal clause. Neither of these changes were made through the courts. They were agreed upon and a notarized letter stating such was signed by both parents.

The father of the children has now had them for 3 weeks due to the rotation of the weeks (his week, his holiday , and his week again). This coming Monday my wife has to travel for her work and will be gone for the entire week that the girls would normally be here with her and I (their stepfather). The father of the girls is stating that he will not allow the children to be present without their mother. Stating that he feels uncomfortable with the girls staying with me. His reasoning for this is a perceived lack of respect from me to him.

My question is does this constitute alienation of affection? Is the father within his right to deny the girls normal routine to continue? My wife and I have a child between us, so is he in fact alienating affection from the girls half brother as well?

I know as a step-parent I have no custodial rights, but with the right of first refusal removed from the custodial agreement, am I not just a live in babysitter to the children? Does the mother have any legal rights here?

--The legal document that controls this situation is the Parenting Plan as ordered by the court. The fact that you all have made changes that have worked until now, does not mean these changes are necessarily enforceable, notarized or not. And, since there is now an obvious breakdown in agreement that you cannot resolve among yourselves, I suggest your wife seek legal advice and file a supplemental petition to modify and let the judge decide. --Staff

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