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The individual who is not the biological parent of the child or children is referred to as the stepparent.
The role of the stepparent and status in the family is often unclear with regard to authority, level of involvement with the stepchild, and discipline.
Because in most divorces, primary custody is awarded to the biological mother, most stepfamilies involve stepfathers who become the full-time stepparent.
In rare cases, a biological father is awarded primary custody, and a stepmother can become a full-time stepparent.
Roles of the non-custodial parent and stepparent must be clearly defined to avoid unnecessary conflicts.