If the partner has not adopted a non-biological child, but has essentially functioned as the parent to the child, they can make a case in the courts for being what we call a “psychological parent.” The courts look at certain factors in determining this, including did the child’s biological parent encourage and foster the relationship between you and the child?
For example, was it encouraged that you were called “Mom” or “Dad?” Did you assume the role of parent in the child’s life? Did he or she financially support the child? Did he or she participate in the child’s education, help with the homework, bring the child to doctor’s appointments? Did the child live in the same house as you? Was your relationship with the child of significant length?
If the judge agrees that you are a psychological parent, you then have the right to file for child custody, parenting time, or child support.
Bari Zell Weinberger is the owner and managing partner of Weinberger Law Group in New Jersey. She is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney.