Do step-parents have any legal grounds for custody or visitation?


Like grandparents, Virginia law recognizes a step-parent’s right to continue a relationship with a child as a “person of legitimate interest”. Many factors are taken into account by the court when determining a step-parent’s rights, however, like grandparents, step-parents’ legal rights to children are considered secondary to the rights of natural parents. A compelling reason would need to be present before step-parents would be granted legal rights to a child.