Legal Question in Family Law in Arizona

I want custody of my step son

I am currently going through a divorce from a marriage of 12 years. I want to obtain custody and visitation with my step son who is 13 years of age. Do I have any legal rights as his step mother?

Asked on 6/30/03, 6:50 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Ronee Korbin Steiner Ronee Korbin Steiner, P.C.
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Re: I want custody of my step son

So sadly you have not custodial right to your step son. Unless your ex husband to be wants to agree to rights regardling parenting time, then you have no choice.

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6/30/03, 7:53 pm
Monica Donaldson Stewart Donaldson Stewart, P.C.
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You may have some rights.

Thank you for your inquiry.

In Arizona, a "non-parent" only has grounds for obtaining legal custody if the parent is clearly unfit. There is no joint custody between a parent and a non-parent.

However, because you have raised the child for the vast majority of his life, the court does have the authority to give you visitation rights if the court finds that doing so is in the child's best interests. Of course, this is easiest to accomplish if the other parent agrees to the parenting time, but even in the event of a disagreement, you may have some rights.

Please contact my office to schedule an initial consultation so we can discuss your situation and take the next step.

Sincerely,

Monica H. Donaldson

monica.donaldson@azbar.org

(480) 792-9770

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7/01/03, 12:19 am
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Re: I want custody of my step son

You may have legal rights, but the natural parents are better situated. Unless the natural parents have problems, such as drug use and child abuse, they are in a better position than a step parent. More facts are needed, but general the natural parents, on an evan playing field, have better standing. However, under certain circumstances, you may get joint custody.

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7/01/03, 11:12 am

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