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Parenting Rights for Step Parents in Canada

Step parents rights in Canada

You don’t know what turns are waiting for you and your family. And these days, having a step-parent or child in the family is not unusual. According to research, around 62.8% of children in Canada have a step-parent in their home. That is why there are proper parental rights for step-parents in Canada and their children. As a result, a healthy bond exists among the family members.

Step Parent Definition

‘Stepparents’ are not a very welcoming concept in many cultures. However, in Canada, they are like a bonus family member. At least, the nation tries to keep it that way by laying rules and rights.

The general definition of a step-parent is a parent who is not related to the child biologically or adoptively. Instead, s/he became a parent by marrying either of the biological parents of the child. How a step-parent gets into a family defines types of step-parent or family. They are as follows:

Neotraditional Stepfamilies

They are the most common types of stepfamilies out there. In these families, the biological parents and stepparent divide parenting duties. They realize that it takes time to create an understanding between a step-parent and a child. Thus, the birth parents create an environment where both can know each other and get to good terms slowly.

Matriarchal Stepfamilies

These are the families where the stepparent is a father, and the mother is a financially independent, biological parent. In such a setup, no one expects the stepfather to share the parental duties. He is undoubtedly a mentor to the children and has friendly terms with them.

However, he is not bound to share the parental burden, but he can if he wants to. These families are generally harmonious, although the birth of a new child in the new family might change things.

Romantic Stepfamilies

These are the instant stepfamilies. The partners fall in love, get married, and take up on all the responsibilities immediately. Sometimes these sudden changes raise troubles among people; however, they are mendable. If the step-parent has his/her way of blending into the structure, s/he will cope smoothly.

These days adopting a stepchild in Canada is a prominent culture. It is because a step-parent turns into a legal guardian by adopting a stepchild in Canada. You must know that there are categories of step-parent adoption. Before a step-parent considers adoption, it is best to contact a lawyer who is best in this field.

Categories of Legal Guardianship for a Step Parent

Step Parent Adoption

When a step-parent adopts a stepchild, the bond becomes permanent legally. The step-parent shares all the rights of a biological parent. This measure often helps a family to get along better because step-parents treat the step-children as their own after adopting. Sometimes, birth parents do not agree to step-parent adoption.

Such a dispute can cause a legal battle. Sadly, such legal fighting can affect the child gravely. You should keep in mind that if any biological parents are absent, a step-parent who has legally adopted the child will have more rights to the child. Again, things may take an unpleasant turn if the step-parent plans to misuse his/her rights.

Unfortunately, sometimes a step-parent adoption may lead to a Cinderella situation. Therefore, a biological parent should give consent to such a big step after considering it carefully.


A guardianship does not affect the relationship with an absent parent. It gives the step-parent legal guardianship. However, Legal guardianship is not a  lifetime thing. When a child reaches legal age, the court decides whether or not guardianship is necessary, considering the child’s betterment.

If someone is willing to approach guardianship, s/he needs to state how and why s/he wants to stay involved clearly. And the child’s birth parents need to agree with those stated terms.

Relationship after Divorce

Often children grow close with their step-parents after sharing a long time with them. However, unexpected events like divorce and death can change things dramatically. If the biological parent through which the step-parent entered the family dies, the situation remains controlled.

That is because the step-parent and child /children stay in touch for their affection. Unfortunately, divorces are usually ugly, and the birth parent may not want the step-parent around his/her child/children. Even if the step-parent and child/children share a great relationship, the birth parent may cause problems.

Supporting the Child

A step-parent may support the stepchild financially even after s/he is divorced from the birth parent. It depends on the category of legal guardianship. Besides, what rules are applicable for adopting a stepchild in that province of Canada also plays a vital role.

For instance, in Alberta, contributing to the child financially in the future is given in step-parent adoption. Step-parent rights in Canada are laid carefully for the parent’s rights so as the child’s.

As a result, the step-parent does not get to escape from his/her responsibilities. That is why it is wise to get into a step-parent adoption after careful consideration.


Children are a real blessing in anyone’s life. Thus, if you are lucky enough to adopt one through your marriage, it is better to consider it. Besides, eight out of ten times the adoption of a stepchild makes the relationship more harmonious.

But take this step only if you are sure that you can raise them as your own. That is because how you treat the child is going to affect him/her for life. It will determine how s/he will turn out as a person in the future.

This action can affect a child’s future; take this decision only after knowing that you can do it. If you are a citizen of Canada and want to adopt your stepchild, I hope you are aware of your rights and responsibilities after reading this.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a step-parent get custody Canada?

What are the rights of a step-parent in Canada following a divorce or separation? It's vital to understand that these rights only apply when applying for custody, visitation, or child support payments. By default, step-parents do not obtain custody, access, or child support.

What rights do step-parents have?

You have the right to get into a parenting arrangement with biological or step-kids if you and your previous spouse agree on it. If you and your ex-spouse are unable to reach an agreement, you may petition the court for time with your stepchildren.

Can a stepmom get custody?

Receiving court-ordered guardianship of a stepchild allows a stepparent to become a legal guardian. Guardianship grants you the same parental rights as if you were the child's biological parent. Legal guardianship can only be obtained if one or both of the kid's natural parents are unable or unwilling to care for the child.

Can step-parents get parental responsibility?

When a stepparent is given parental responsibility, he or she has the same rights and obligations as a biological parent. By agreement or by court order, same-sex partners in a registered civil partnership or marriage can receive parental responsibility.

Does a stepfather have parental rights?

Even if you believe your stepchildren to be your own children, step-parents do not have any legal rights to them. You can't claim these children throughout your divorce procedures unless you properly adopted them as your own.

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