Blended families are very common in America, and Minnesota is no exception.

Incorporating your new spouse into your family and watching your children make new bonds with your spouse can be rewarding and enriching. If your relationship ends, dividing your blended family is often extremely challenging.  The change is especially challenging for the children. Where there are deep bonds that have formed between the step-parent and step-child, the process is especially difficult for the children.

If a step-parent has legally adopted a step-child, that child is no longer viewed by the law as a step-child. It does not differentiate between an adopted child and a biological child. So the adopting parent has the same visitation and custody rights and child support obligations as a biological parent.

For a step-parent who has formed a close bond with the step-children, it’s best to keep the children’s best interests in mind. In the optimal situation, the parents will allow and facilitate continuing contact. If that’s not what’s happening, the law provides some information on what a court might do. Minnesota statute 257C.08(4) provides that a step-parent can request court-ordered visitation where: 1) visitation would be in the child’s best interest; 2) the child and the step-parent have established emotional ties establishing a parent-child relationship; and 3) visitation would not interfere with the relationship between the biological parent and the child. If a step-parent can prove all of those elements, he or she may receive court-ordered visitation with the step child.

On the other hand, it might be the biological parent who feels more strongly about continuing contact between a step-parent and step-child. Again, the child’s best interest should dominate this discussion. There is no legal method to force a divorced step-parent to maintain a relationship with a step-child, even if ending that relationship is bad for the child. Minnesota also does not have any provision under which a step-parent has to pay child support, unless the step-parent adopted the step-child.

If you are facing this or similar problems, contact your DIYvorce representative.

Deciding to get a divorce is hard.

And then it seems to just get harder. But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.

DIYvorce was created by Minnesota divorce attorneys who know that people need a path to their divorce that doesn’t require thousands of dollars and months of fighting. But they also need to know their divorce is done correctly, and that it resolves the couple’s disagreements.

DIYvorce is an easy-to-use path for for couples who are ending their marriage:

You work through a secure online interview to gather information.

You get helpful information about issues to consider as you work out how to legally part.

You have the opportunity to consult with legal professionals along the way. Your questions will be answered and you can be confident about your final divorce and the documents.