In regard to parental rights, a stepparent does not possess any authority or power over a child or associated decisions. Parental rights are maintained solely by a child’s biological parents. A stepparent does not have any authority in regard to the way in which a child is raised or important decisions regarding his/her future. He/she is not authorized to make any medical or educational decisions for the child, and he/she cannot access the child’s medical records.
In the event that a stepparent separates from the child’s biological parent, the stepparent has no rights in regard to child custody. However, a judge may grant the stepparent some visitation rights if the stepparent has acted as a primary caregiver for an extended period of time. If a stepparent adopts his/her stepchild, he/she will then gain some rights in regard to parenting and raising the child.