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Legal rights of Stepmoms in Illinois

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#1 MomOfTwoBoyz


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Posted 27 October 2009 - 09:47 AM

Hello. I am the mother of 2 boys in Illinois. I have Joint legal custody with my ex-husband and I am the residential parent.

My ex just remarried. I am looking to locate Illinois Statute on the Legal Rights of Stepparents. My ex's new wife is signing school report card envelopes, school assignment notebooks, etc.  I want to know whether she has the legal right to sign such documents when both my ex and I are available to do so. I want to learn what her rights are and where I can stand up and 'draw the line'.

Thank you.

#2 Fallen


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Posted 27 October 2009 - 09:58 AM

"I am looking to locate Illinois Statute on the Legal Rights of Stepparents."

This presumes there is such a thing.  :)

"My ex's new wife is signing school report card envelopes, school assignment notebooks, etc."

It's not clear why you really care, except insofar as your ex evidently abdicating his parental responsibility to review stuff on his behalf.  If he has, that's his choice.  If the school isn't wondering why the actual parent isn't doing his-her job in reviewing grades and signing off on assignments, that's curious -- even if he's issued her a power of attorney saying his wife's allowed to sign for him, if I were a school administrator, I'd say that's not good enough and that I expect him to review the stuff and sign off on it. 

You don't say how this issue has come up, but if I were you, I'd limit my response to asking the ex why he's abdicating responsibility of keeping on top of his kids' education to his wife, and perhaps asking the school what's up with allowing the stepmother to sign off on stuff.  If you want to engage in a pissing contest with the new wife and involve the family court, seek local family law counsel

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)

#3 pg1067


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Posted 27 October 2009 - 10:18 AM

"My ex just remarried. I am looking to locate Illinois Statute on the Legal Rights of Stepparents."

No such statute exists.  Stepparents have no legal rights vis-a-vis their stepchildren independent of their parent-spouses' rights.

"My ex's new wife is signing school report card envelopes, school assignment notebooks, etc.  I want to know whether she has the legal right to sign such documents"

She doesn't have a "right" to do so, but there's no prohibition against it either.  You certainly can let the school know that her signature should not be accepted and that you need to be made aware of anything that requires a parent signature.

#4 MomOfTwoBoyz


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Posted 27 October 2009 - 10:53 AM

Thank you 'Fallen' and 'pg1067' for your insights. I guess I was not very elaborate on the situation b/c you probably know we could all write books on such issues!

I am upset that the ex is not taking the time to sign such things as I stated but when point this out to him I get verbal backlash. His wife has 4 children of her own. My ex has stepped up to the plate to play 'dad' to her kids as her ex is living in South Dakota (and her kids are lucky to see their dad 2x's a year) and I am concerned that our 2 boys are getting the shaft from him b/c of his new role to her kids. I do feel it is nice that she look over our sons' homework, report cards, field trip slips/instructions, but I don't feel she should be signing anything of the such. The ex is an abled body man who should be taking that responsibility. I understand that he would feel and encourage his wife to just sign away on things like this but I was under the impression since he and I are both alive and present, she should not be signing our boys' school related items. I have also heard she doesn't have the legal right to sign for medical issues either. I have not given up my parental rights by signing a power of attorney letter  (and have no intention of doing so) and if he signs one giving her these parental rights, don't I have to agree and sign too? I guess it is a fine line and probably is an area where it will get into a pissing match. This is frustrating to say the least!

#5 NewOneNow



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Posted 29 October 2009 - 09:55 AM

Keep in mind that Dad signing the form doesn't indicate that he's actually read it...  Stepmom could possibly still be doing all the leg work and just having him sign because you went to the extent of requiring his signature.

It sounds like your biggest concern is that Dad is not as involved in his bio son's lives as you'd like.  Personally, I'd first be certain that he is ignoring this own before throwing out accusations.  Why do you think your boys are getting the shaft?  Have they mentioned something to that effect?  Are they coming home upset?  Have their grades fallen?

If not, I would not make assumptions.  Not signing a form is not really a clear indication of total uninvolvement.  Even if you do have concrete proof that Dad is paying more attention to his new step-children, it is probably not a permanent situation and may even out as the new step-family melds in to their own routine.

Unless Dad (and Stepmom) totally ignore your children when they are there, to me this isn't a big enough issue to fight.

#6 Adaly07


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Posted 31 October 2009 - 04:13 AM

Pick your battles, i wouldnt waste time on something as trivial as her signing a paper, That wont have any affect on the childrens mental state or well being, Save it for the big stuff,,,,if there is big stuff, If shes good to them and treats them right and doesnt try to fill your shoes, let it be,,,,,,,in years to come your children will thank you for having such grace,

I am a bio mom and a stepmom. I get along wonderful with my ex's wife, we have a very good working relationship. I welcome any of her input because it just makes my son a stronger and happier person,,,but she also knows where to draw the line, She respects me as his mother and in return i never give her a hard time, Shes a good ally when it comes to raising my son also, and he never has any stress or worries that if he shows me he likes her i will  be mad,

Now the stepmom part,,,,,,,,,,,im dealing with a bio mom who doesnt even have time for her kids , complains every 5 seconds about stuff, wont allow me to even talk to her children yet complains if im busy and cant take the kids to the doctors or a school function,,,,,,,,,,,yes i take the kids to the doctors and school functions because thier dad works all day and thier mother is usually off getting her nails done and dog groomed and is to busy,,,,im not kidding,,,,,,,,and i have signed thier school reports on occasion, not always, there are days wwheen i just look at my husband and say not my job,,,hes a good dad but when he gets home from work the kids give him papers and he forgets , and there are times he signs papers for my son,,,its all about whose available at the time so if they are sitting ont he table and i walk by i sign it and put it in thier book bags.

one thing i had to leaarn about being a step mom and sharing responsibility with others is the fact we are all trying to have our own households and own lives, i refuse to live in my home and have his ex dictate to me what i can and cant do in my own home,,,,and i wont do that to my ex, i dont live there , never have and its not my right to tell them what to do, because i dont tolerate when its done to me,

there are a lot of other nasty step mother behaviors to look for,,,,,,,,,,,,as hard as it is and as much as you hate it suck it up and let her do what shes doing,,,,,,,only step in when the kids are suffering and its affecting them,,,,because int he long run they may be happy and its your behaviors that will affect them,,,,you dont have to save face for her or your ex, they dont care about brownie points,,,think about your kids,

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