Do Stepparents Have Custody Rights When Both Biological Parents are Deceased? Legal Guardianship?

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“Hello, I am a Sophomore at Edison High School. I had to read the book Lolita and need to research a topic on it. I chose to research Humbert’s rights as a stepfather. Part of this assignment is I need to contact an expert and ask questions so I wanted to ask your website a few questions. In 1955 What rights would a stepfather have for custody over his step child if both biological parents are dead? Also what steps would he need to take to become the childs legal guardian? Thank You for your time. If possible I would like an answer before Thursday because that is when this assignment is due.”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

In 1955, as today, step-parents have very few rights. In most cases, custody where both biological parents are deceased would go first to the maternal grandparents, then (if they did not want custody or were not available) to the paternal grandparents. Nowadays, however, a step-parent would have a slightly better chance of getting custody from the outset. Also, if the mother had named her husband (the step-father) as a guardian in the event of her demise, then the step-father would have a better chance of obtaining custody, although even then, if the biological grandparents objected, there would be no guarantee of his getting custody.

Good luck with your project; that’s a great, and unique, topic for a report on Lolita!

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.