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Dealing With a Stepparent’s Interference in a Child’s Upbringing in DuPage County

 Posted on August 24, 2022 in Child Custody

naperville family law attorneyThe US Bureau of Census estimates that nearly 50 percent of marriages end in divorce, with the average marriage only lasting seven years. More than 75 percent of divorcees remarry, which explains how 1300 stepfamilies are created daily. According to a Pew Research Center survey, more than 40 percent of American adults have at minimum one step relative, either a stepparent, stepsibling, or stepchild. Adapting to the new circumstances of a parent’s remarriage can be a traumatizing upheaval for a child, especially if the stepparent is difficult or meddling. A biological parent is likely to be alarmed and nerve-racked knowing their child will be under the care of their former spouse’s new spouse, who could possibly mistreat the child. Blended families where both parents have children can also be confusing and chaotic to the child.

If the biological parent suspects the former spouse’s new spouse is harming the child’s wellbeing, parenting time could be revised. A family law attorney can help strategize post-decree modifications to a parenting plan.

Eight Common Ways a Stepparent Can Be Detrimental

  1. Feeling and behaving with jealousy over the relationship between the spouse and stepchild reveals the stepparent's insecurity and can interfere with the family dynamic.  

  2. Speaking negatively about the stepchild's parents, such as criticizing their parenting skills or the amount of alimony one receives, can make the child feel uncomfortable and confused.

  3. Disciplining stepchildren can overstep boundaries and intensify the child's resentment.

  4. Undermining the established wishes of how the spouse's ex wants their child to be raised is reprehensible. This can involve the child's diet, extracurricular activities, sleep schedule, or social media usage. 

  5. Mistreating the child by withholding basic needs, such as food or hygiene, is cruel, negligent, and illegal. 

  6. Belittling and berating the child can sometimes escalate into verbal abuse and merit a possible modification.

  7.  Intrusive acts include invading the child’s privacy or interrogating them about their biological parents or family issues.

  8. Disparaging the child's religious beliefs could also be demoralizing. 

Biological Parent’s Recourse

Even when former spouses had previously co-parented in harmony, the addition of a stepparent can cause discord. A concerned parent has every right to file for a modification to the parenting plan if he or she feels that the child’s best interests are not being served by the current plan. The petitioner, the parent requesting a modification, must provide evidence of a substantial change in circumstances. The child's welfare is supreme, and the best interest of the child is always the court's primary concern.  

If the biological parent suspects the stepparent is physically abusing the child, notifying the authorities will initiate a criminal investigation. An emergency protective order is the quickest way to safeguard an abused child as it mandates the immediate removal of the child from the stepparent's residence.   

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

Our dependable divorce attorneys understand delicate family matters at Pesce Law Group P.C., a full-service family law firm. Our team of thoughtful professionals is sympathetic to the needs of our clients. We diligently work to minimize emotional strife while aiming for peaceful resolutions. If you need help enforcing or modifying a parenting plan because of a stepparent’s interference, contact a Naperville divorce attorney at 630-352-2240 for a free consultation.


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