Stepmom Central

As step-parenting becomes more of the norm , why do we still b**** about not having any rights and not do anything about it?
September 10, 2012 at 4:25 PM
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.


  • thickerthan
    September 11, 2012 at 11:12 AM
    Quoting ShannaBee:

    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.

    I agree with you fully. My ex husbands wife has only met my kids twice so yes I believe that a NCSM should have no rights! But in cases were the BM has little to no custody the rights should go to the CSM.

    To your last comment, if both you and your ex were unable to care for your child for an extended period of time. Would you rather have the am whose been in the childs life for a few years be able to keep cuoulstody of your child? Or would you rather have CPS come in and place your child in a complete strangers home?
    Please understand, I'm not singling you out. You just made good comments that I read first!
  • liltigersmom
    September 11, 2012 at 11:21 AM
    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.
  • angelmommy2806
    September 11, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Seeing as I am a CSM DH has given me a POA. Other than that they're not my kids and I don't want any legal rights. With the POA I'm able to do all I need to and all major decisions are on DH and BM which is where they should be because they're the Parents.

  • momof2cuteboys
    September 11, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    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.

  • jreta
    by jreta
    September 11, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    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.

  • Pero1
    by Pero1
    September 11, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Quoting thickerthan:

     But in cases were the BM has little to no custody the rights should go to the CSM.

    What's wrong with BF having custody?

  • thickerthan
    September 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM
    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.
  • Pero1
    by Pero1
    September 11, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Also, as you say, stepparenting becomes more of the norm ... bear in mind that the track record for second marriages is even worse than the track record for first marriages. What happens in case of multiple step-parents? Since 3rd marriages are also becoming more of the norm, what happens with the rights of SM1 after divorce?

  • E_is_4_Ethan
    September 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    I'm a CSM.

    I really don't know what more I would want when it comes to my rights.

    I do everything I do for my Bio kids.

    When BM showed up after was my opinion that was valued the most when it came to what was best for the kids.

  • Derdriu
    by Derdriu
    September 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Quoting thickerthan:

    But in cases were the BM has little to no custody the rights should go to the CSM.

    Negative.  A BM may have little to no custody and still be actively involved in the child's life.  If she chooses not to be a part of the child's life, there may be an option to terminate her rights and allow CSM to adopt.  If rights automatically went to CSM, however, then responsibility for financial support (CS) should also transfer with it.  Your child, your responsiblity.  And as such, if CSM and DH were to separate, how does CSM remove herself from continuing to support that child through the age of 18?

    For all the CSMs that want rights, I doubt there are many who would agree that BM shouldn't have to pay CS.  But you can't have your cake and eat it, too.  Either you claim ownership of the child and all that it entails, or you accept that it's not your kid and that BM is responsible for supporting her children - regardless of how involved or uninvolved she chooses to be in their lives. 

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