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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    5

    Unhappy Step-parents rights and responsibilities

    My husband just gained custody of his 15 yr old son and I can't seem to enroll my step-son in school without some kind of legal documentation that states I can take care of this, according to the attendance clerk at the high school, (after I filled out all the registration forms, she decides to tell me this even though I showed her the court order when I walked in). I am his step-mother, his father and I have been married almost a year now and we live in Texas. My husband is in the military and will be sent TDY somewhere and I will have to take care of these issues while he's gone. I'm curious to know, what standard rights do step-parents have? Shouldn't I be able to enroll him in school, seek medical care, etc? I really couldn't argue with the attendance clerk because I'm not sure of my legal rights as a step-parent. On the court order it states that he is now the primary managing conservertor with legal rights to residency, school, medical, standard stuff...Is it required that I have to obtain some kind of legal documentation that shows guardianship?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    5,438

    Default Re: step-parents rights and responsibilities

    If you have a judgment in a lawsuit that says that pa gets the kid, then ask the bureaucrat at the school exactly what they need. Have them put it in writing.

    Pa should be able to give you a power of attorney to give you the authority to do this.

    Consult with a family law attorney in your county.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    5

    Default Re: step-parents rights and responsibilities

    Yes, he now has legal custody and the attendance clerk said she needs something that states I have guardianship and the right to enroll him...I thought being married to his father would be enough...but I'm not so sure she knows Texas Law pertaining to this situation...she hesitated and "thinks" I can't enroll him and wouldn't allow it. Today, she sent the registration forms home with me and asked that I get him to sign it...that's fine, I can get him to sign sometime today, but what about future schools, doctors, etc...how often am I going to come across this obstacle...we've already spent thousands of dollars in legal fees and I cringe everytime we have to phone the lawyer. I thought maybe there was some standardized code for step-parents' rights and responsibilities...Thanks for your reply!

  4. #4
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    Jul 2006
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    985

    Default Re: step-parents rights and responsibilities

    Quote Quoting debbie703
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    Yes, he now has legal custody and the attendance clerk said she needs something that states I have guardianship and the right to enroll him...I thought being married to his father would be enough...but I'm not so sure she knows Texas Law pertaining to this situation...she hesitated and "thinks" I can't enroll him and wouldn't allow it. Today, she sent the registration forms home with me and asked that I get him to sign it...that's fine, I can get him to sign sometime today, but what about future schools, doctors, etc...how often am I going to come across this obstacle...we've already spent thousands of dollars in legal fees and I cringe everytime we have to phone the lawyer. I thought maybe there was some standardized code for step-parents' rights and responsibilities...Thanks for your reply!
    Right now, since he is available, he should be the one to sign the school registration. However in the ufture, your husband needs to go to JAG and execute the appropriate legal documents to appoint you as a "guardian" in his absence or when DTY or Deployed, a POA etc. He should also update his "Family plan" with the military, which will depend on the circumstances of the court orders. That will determine whether or not the child will return to mom during extended deployment or exceptions for visitation. Also he can take care of any changes in child support allotments resulting from this new court order.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,126

    Default Re: step-parents rights and responsibilities

    To answer your original question, a step-parents has NO legal rights/responsibilities to the stop-child. That is why you are required to go through all of this. Only the parents have rights/responsibilities. Your rights only concern your spouse, not his children. So, its not that the clerk knows TX law, its that YOU don't understand. She is not an attorney, so she is not going to tell you exactly what you need to do. She is simply going to tell you that what you are TRYING to do, ain't gonna happen. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    5

    Default Re: step-parents rights and responsibilities

    wow, thanks for your advice!...I didn't know there could be an issue when/if he gets deployed for an extended amount of time...I wonder if we can handle all this here since we live in a different county than where the case was handled....(my step-son just moved in with us from another city, same state but a different county) I'm thinking we may have to wait until he resides here for at least 30 days...I'll bring this to my husband's attention so we can make sure all this is taken care of through the military before he leaves again.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    5

    Default Re: step-parents rights and responsibilities

    Quote Quoting moburkes
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    To answer your original question, a step-parents has NO legal rights/responsibilities to the stop-child. That is why you are required to go through all of this. Only the parents have rights/responsibilities. Your rights only concern your spouse, not his children. So, its not that the clerk knows TX law, its that YOU don't understand. She is not an attorney, so she is not going to tell you exactly what you need to do. She is simply going to tell you that what you are TRYING to do, ain't gonna happen. Good luck.
    I understand that she is not an attorney but she stood there, not knowing what to say and then determined on her own that I could not enroll him. She didn't ask anyone, nor referred to any manuals. So it made me wonder. She prob knew as much as I did. The two of standing there, not knowing the facts. That is the only reason why I questioned it...and I feel that it is her job to tell me what I need to do when it concerns enrollment.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,126

    Default Re: Step-parents rights and responsibilities

    You thought wrong, then. Her employers may not allow her to help you. You were looking for help where it could not be given.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    985

    Default Re: step-parents rights and responsibilities

    Quote Quoting debbie703
    View Post
    wow, thanks for your advice!...I didn't know there could be an issue when/if he gets deployed for an extended amount of time...I wonder if we can handle all this here since we live in a different county than where the case was handled....(my step-son just moved in with us from another city, same state but a different county) I'm thinking we may have to wait until he resides here for at least 30 days...I'll bring this to my husband's attention so we can make sure all this is taken care of through the military before he leaves again.
    The court order takes effect the date the judge signs it unless that is other language in the order. Under TX law under what is called the SOP, a parent is allowed to designiate another person which could be a (new) spouse/step-parent to transport children such as for visitation exchanges etc. which is not the same thing as "step-parent rights". Being a military family does make for some exceptions as you act in his stead during his absence, but you need to have all the paperwork in effect, that is why he needs to go to JAG ASAP and get started on this, today or tomorrow not 30 days from now.

    Unless or until both parents move from the original jurisdiction, that court generally retians jurisdiction remains the court of jurisdiction until there is a petition to change jurisdiction, again, being in the military can cause differences in this.

    You and your husband may want to read up on the SSCRA which covers a service member's and families rights during deployment.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    5

    Smile Re: Step-parents rights and responsibilities

    thank you so much...I will talk to him about all this...I'm sure he'll find out how to contact the appropriate departments for these changes/updates. Thanks for the tips...I really really really appreciate your advice!

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