Blended families start when two people who already have children from previous relationships fall in love. Many blended families give children new siblings and new parents that love and support them. Sadly, some blended families, just like some biological families, will eventually go through a divorce.

In most states around the country, stepparents have very few legal rights in a divorce. In fact, unless they adopted their stepchildren, they may not have any right to visitation or an ongoing relationship with children that they have raised as their own for years.

Although informal arrangements allow stepparents across the country to remain a part of the lives of the children they love, they often have no legal recourse if the biological parent refuses to allow them visitation time after a divorce. Thankfully, Georgia law recognizes and protects the bond between stepparents and stepchildren.

The Equitable Caregiver Act corrected an oversight in custody laws

Biological relationships and adoption are far from the only way that real families form. Georgia is leading the nation by recognizing that non-adoptive, non-biological adults can play a crucial role in the lives of children in a household.

The 2019 passage of the Equitable Caregiver Act allows any adult who filled the role of equitable caregiver to a child to seek parental rights or at least visitation. If your spouse doesn’t want to cooperate and allow you to maintain your relationship with the stepchildren you love, asserting your rights under the Equitable Caregiver law can lead to a parenting plan that helps you maintain that important relationship.