Does divorce dissolve stepparenthood?

Question

I'm having difficulty finding out if the "lawful" status of a stepdaughter or stepson changes after a parent and stepparent's divorce is final and the stepdaughter or stepson is living on his or her own or with the natural parent. Can you help?

Answer

Legally, stepchildren have no legal connection with stepparents -- current or previous. Only if a stepparent adopts a stepchild does the relationship take on legal rights and responsibilities.

Of course, as is often true with the law, legal principles do not recognize an underlying human reality: If a stepparent plays an important role in a stepchild's life, the relationship they form is what counts, not what the law says about it.

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