Monday, November 16, 2009

Stepparents: Legal Rights???

When I hear the term "step-family”, I think of my family: a stepfather, stepmother, a stepsister, and two stepbrothers. Step-families can be good and bad. It is good because the parents have remarried and, I guess you can say, are not lonely. It can be bad on the children because they are torn between two families. They may have to pack up on the weekends and live at one place and come back and live at another place. Having my parents divorce when I was around 16, I know having step-families can be very hard on a child. It is especially hard on teenagers when they have so much going on in school and need both parents to be there, but they can not always be there because one may not live near by. It can also be bad on the children because they may think that just because they have stepparents that their family is “broken” or “dysfunctional”. Sometimes, they may even blame their self for the divorce of their parents.

I was doing my Sociology: Marriage & The Family homework last night. I came across a certain question. Do I think stepparents should have legal rights and be obligated to support their stepchildren financially? I do not think that stepparents should have legal rights over their stepchildren. That child is not theirs. The only people that should have any legal rights over the children are the biological mother and the biological father, as long as they have not legally lost their parental rights. I have stepparents. I know that if I ever needed them financially, they would try to help me in anyway they can. However, I do not expect that from them because they are my stepparents and not my biological parents. I think it is wonderful that a lot of stepparents are there for their stepchildren and will hep them out whenever, but I do not think they should be obligated to legally and financially support their stepchildren. It is the biological parents job, not the stepparents. If I were a stepparent, I would not agree to that kind of contract. I will help my stepchild and be there for them whenever they need me, but their biological parents are the ones that need to legally support them in every way. If I was a biological parent, I still would not agree to that. As I previous stated, only the biological parents should be legally and financially obligated to support the children.

This class has so many good discussion pieces, I may post more later on, but what are your thoughts on this subject? Should they have legal rights? Should they be obligated to support them financially even if they are not the biological parent?

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