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Can a Stepparent Seek Child Possession in Texas?

Stepparents can play an important role in the upbringing of a child. In most cases, though, their legal right to child possession (custody) in Texas is limited. However, non-relatives who have played an important role in the child’s life and acted as a primary caretaker may be able to gain legal custody in certain circumstances.

A stepparent may seek conservatorship of the child if that child has been in the stepparent’s care and possession for at least six months, and as long as such a petition is filed within 90 days of the child leaving the stepparent’s care. Other considerations include:

  • If a stepparent or other non-parent is appointed the sole managing conservator, he or she assumes the rights and duties of a parent, including making decisions about primary residence, education and medical care.
  • In addition, Texas law requires a non-parent who has been appointed managing conservator of a child to file a report with the court every 12 months concerning the child’s welfare.
  • A non-parent who is appointed a joint managing conservator has the same rights and responsibilities, except that they are shared with either another non-parent or with a parent of the child.

It is important to remember that stepparents who adopt children have different legal rights. If the stepparent has previously gone through the procedure of legally adopting the child, then the stepparent has the same rights and obligations as a biological parent, including the right to seek possession of that child.

Texas family law is very complex, and each set of circumstances is unique. If you need legal representation concerning stepparent custody, consult an experienced child custody attorney.

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Robert Reid McInvale
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Robert Reid McInvale is an experienced family law attorney with a comprehensive practice in Houston. He provides dedicated and strong advocacy for his clients, helping them with all the issues surrounding their divorce, separation, child custody, and other marriage and family matters. Attorney McInvale—Reid to clients and friends—seemed destined for a law career. Born while his father was attending Emory University Law School, Reid grew up in Manchester, GA. His father was the city attorney for many years, as well as head of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. It is in the family blood to become lawyers and help people get justice. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall is part of the McInvale family tree.

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