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Stepparent visitation after a divorce: What can you do?

You’re part of a blended family, something that has become more increasingly common today. You’ve married a woman who has a son, and now you, too, have gained a son – a stepson.

But after nearly 10 years, your relationship with your spouse has soured and now you’ll be divorcing.

But you’ve built a strong, nurturing relationship with your stepson, helping him learn how to ride a bicycle, serving as a chaperone at some of his school field trips, taking him on doctor appointments and attending parent-teacher conferences.

Tennessee law has two conditions

Now what to you do? Will he disappear from your life? Will you be able to visit him? Just what are your rights as a stepparent when it comes to stepchild visitation after a divorce?

In some states, stepparent visitation rights are similar to grandparent visitation rights. In Tennessee, stepparents may be granted reasonable visitation rights under two conditions:

  • The visitation is in the best interest of the child.
  • The stepparent is also providing or contributing support for the child, they may visit.

Face the challenge

You’ve bonded with this child, and you hope to continue to be a part of his life for as long as you can, but this becomes another challenge now that you’re divorced from his mother.

You miss him dearly and want to continue to be a part of his life. So if you decide to seek stepparent visitation, be prepared and gather as much information as possible that verifies your involvement in the child’s life.

Ultimately, all your preparation just might soften the blow from the divorce and allow you to maintain a relationship with the child who sometimes accidentally called you “Dad.”

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