How will Sandra Bullock fare in court if she decides to split from Jesse James? An attorney (who's also a stepmom) breaks it down.
Robin Sax: I am a stepmother of two boys myself, and I can tell you: Stepmothers have no rights when it comes to the kids.
In a divorce or separation situation, the stepmother has absolutely no rights to the children, no matter how close she was to them. If things turn ugly between Sandra and Jesse, and he says he doesn't want Sandra to see the kids, then she won't be seeing the kids -- unless she can work out something with the mom (and they reportedly have a contentious relationship).
Now, hopefully, Jesse would never do that to the kids. Hopefully, he will do what's in the best interest of his children -- even if things get tense between him and Sandra. But you never know how people will react in situations like this.
Another thing that people often don't think about is what happens to the stepmother if her husband dies in some freak accident. The stepmother has zero custody in those tragic instances, even if she and her husband were married at the time of his death. Sole custody automatically reverts back to the biological mother. You can have your husband put a request in his will that the biological mother give visitation to you as the stepmother, but the biological mother does not have to honor that request by law.
It's unfair, but true: Stepmothers have all the responsibilities of parenthood, but they have none of the rights.
|Robin Sax is a former Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney who specialized in prosecuting sex crimes against children. She is the author of six books, including "Predators and Child Molesters: What Every Parent Needs to Know To Keep Kids Safe." Robin is a regular legal commentator on "Larry King Live," "Nancy Grace," "FOXNews" and has a weekly radio show, "Justice Interrupted." Robin lives with her husband and three children in Los Angeles, Calif.|