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Parental rights of US Citizen?

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I have a general question which may or may not be covered in this site. My wife and stepson are Russian citizens with US green cards. I also have a biological son with my wife. My stepson is not my adopted son. Hopefully this situation will never present itself, but if my wife was to die, what would be my options as stepfather to have my stepson (10 yo) remain in the US? We are pretty certain that his father would want him to return to Russia, and I would want him to remain with his brother (2 yo) and I in the U.S. Would I have any legal options to prevent being forced to return him to his biological father? Or any delay tactics?

Thanks,

Richard

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As a step-father, you have no legal rights whatsoever.



If your wife, the child's mother, were to die or otherwise be incapacitated, then you would be hard-pressed to find a good reason to prevent the return of the step-son to his biological/legal father should the father wish to pursue it.



It also puts the boy in a precarious situation - the state agency that looks after children's welfare could potentially take custody of the child pending reuninification with the father.



If adoption is not a possibility, then make sure your wife makes her wishes known in a will and also provides you with authorization to make medical decisions, etc. in her abcense.



Delay tactics? Well, consider you're here and the father is there, coupled with the question of whether the father has resources to pursue such an action.


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Step parents do not get custody of step children not even when all children involved are USC. There's is always one that did but the reason is more then just a basic reason like the BIO parent no longer has any rights to the child.

Delay tactics I'm sure you could come up with some, but the child will go back to his father. The father just because he gave permission to let the child move to the US did not give up his rights to his child.

Russia is part of the Hague convention the father will have the resources to get his child back even if he doesn't have a dime.

Edited by Ontarkie

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You did not ask an immigration question.

This is a DIY site, if you want to ask a lawyer then you are in the wrong place.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Are either of you immigration attorneys? I am curious as to where you got your information.

Not a lawyer, but I have 4 kids from my previous marriage and spoke to 4 different attorneys in both Countries.

Step parents rights are not a new thing just because your wife changed countries, the country your step child is born with will always hold jurisdiction over that child, unless the child's father gives the US courts jurisdiction.

Also you don't need an immigration attorney you need a family law attorney and one who is familiar with the Hague convention, because if the laws of the Hague convention are not followed the original country will not recognize what the US does if you did some how sneak it through US courts.


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Met Playing Everquest in 2005
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K-1 & 4 K-2'S
Filed 05-09-07
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Cards Received02-22-11
Citizenship
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Interview 01-12-12
Oath 06-29-12

Citizenship for older 2 boys

Filed 03/08/2014

NOA/fee waiver 03/19/2014

Biometrics 04/15/14

Interview 05/29/14

In line for Oath 06/20/14

Oath 09/19/2014 We are all done! All USC no more USCIS

 

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Out of curiosity, is there a problem with the child's father? Ideally, the child deserves both biological parents and yes you and the child as well as his step brother have formed a bond. Did the bio father have a role in the child's life previously? Does your wife have full custody?

Sometimes in messy cases even the will of a person is not always honoured. I too would be concerned about the state stepping in to take custody.

God willing that this doesn't happen though.

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Boiler, you can shove off with your snippy answer. I simply asked a sourcing question for their information which is perfectly reasonable.

No problem with my stepson's father. He stays involved with the child's life, as much as he can from 10,000 miles away anyway, and I agree that my stepson, or any child, should receive the benefit of a healthy relationship with bio dad or mom. I've never tried to stop that.

This was a theoretical question only, my wife is not sick or anything. We were just considering "what if".

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Boiler, you can shove off with your snippy answer. I simply asked a sourcing question for their information which is perfectly reasonable.

No problem with my stepson's father. He stays involved with the child's life, as much as he can from 10,000 miles away anyway, and I agree that my stepson, or any child, should receive the benefit of a healthy relationship with bio dad or mom. I've never tried to stop that.

This was a theoretical question only, my wife is not sick or anything. We were just considering "what if".

Fair enough and good on you for knowing that. I just wanted to clarify.

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Are either of you immigration attorneys? I am curious as to where you got your information.

Immigration isn't your problem. Parental rights and child custody is.

The child's father being in Russia only makes the child's father's legal manuevering a little more challenging and time consuming. The child being an LPR or USC will not stand in the way of the child being repatriated with the father if that is what the father desires. Now, if the child is of a legal age to request emancipation, varies by jurisdiction, then this is a potential avenue the child could follow, but it tends to be tricky and fraught with pitfalls.

I had a step-son who had lived with me for the better part of ten years. It was made painfully clear during divorce that I had no legal standing whatsoever in rights to that child. After I gained custody of my two biological children, I negotiated custody of my step-son directly with his mother (my ex-wife). For my situation, the biological father had no legal rights and was not an issue.

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This was a theoretical question only, my wife is not sick or anything. We were just considering "what if".

Yeah, the 'what if' is going to be highly dependent on the age of the child, the quality of life he has in the US, his capability of integrating into life in Russia, etc. at the time of the 'event'.

Honestly, considering the father is making the effort to be somewhat active in the child's life and is adequate father figure, your best bet may be to encourage that relationship, hoping that over time the father and step-son appreciate the effort you make in that regard and if an 'event' does happen, everyone would consider that it was in the child's best interest to remain in the US under your care, with the father maintaining his rights and, perhaps, some sort of visitation. Thinking outside the box here may be in the best interest of the child, which ultimately, is in your best interest too.

Good luck.

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novedsac, that was my conclusion too, that ideally in such a situation the father would agree to a shared living kind of arrangement, like school year in the US and summer in Russia. I have a cordial relationship with the guy. I lent him my Lexus when he and his wife visited the US to save him car rental charges, stuff like that. He has a general anti-American attitude which puts me off though. His favorite thing that he saw when he visited the US? In his words, seeing ghettos in DC and NYC, so that he could boast the the US is not the perfect country that everyone thinks it is. His was also the opinion that the bums in the US are not as classy as the bums in Europe. What!?

Thanks folks for your input.

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