Suppose Billy marries Suzie and they have a son, Bobby. Then Suzie dies. Billy remarries Bonnie and Billy, Bonnie, and Bobby live together as a family for years, but Bonnie never adopts Bobby. Then Billy dies while Bobby is still a minor.

Could Bonnie theoretically just drop Bobby off at an orphanage?

  • I don’t know, but good idea for Billy to write a will.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Oct 3, 2020 at 19:30

1 Answer 1


Yes and no

Under the Family Law Act, a step-parent is legally a relative of the child but they are not automatically a guardian. So they have the same rights and responsibilities as an aunt, uncle, grandparent etc.

So they can disclaim responsibility and hand that over to another relative or the state but they cannot abandon or neglect the child. But then, a biological or adoptive parent can do this.

  • Wasn't asking about Australia but thanks anyway
    – SegNerd
    Commented Oct 4, 2020 at 1:35

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