Stepmother Relationship

My father had a first marriage with a woman who is now deceased. I never had any interaction with her in my entire life. I don’t believe she qualifies as my stepmother. Do I have to list her for public trust paperwork?


It looks like you should list her. The SF85p specifically asks for step parents “living or deceased”.

It shouldn’t be a big deal for your investigation and the required information shouldn’t be difficult to obtain.

Thanks, but is she really considered my step mother? My understanding is that she’d only be considered my step mother if my father married her after I was born and she is not my biological mother. Any other thoughts would be appreciated.


I didn’t think of the distinction. From what I can find online (I am not a lawyer), it appears that the legal definition is that a step-parent is one who marries a parent after the divorce or death of the parent’s spouse. Since your father married her before your birth and she is not in any way biologically-related to you, I don’t think she could be noted as a relation.

You could run it by your FSO. Since this person is deceased, it is very unlikely that it could hurt your application by including them (with a note about your relationship), and the general advice is to include too much rather than too little information in your forms.

She is not considered your stepmother.


721, other BI folks have disputed that in this forum. I too previously took the position this was described as the father’s wife, particularly if it happened when the candidate is an adult, long since moved out and 75 year old dad marries another person. I would recommend including what you know and stating no relationship, or no contact in 30 years, etc. This way you get credit for speaking to it…and don’t cause any hiccups if they feel you hid this info.

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If the father married her while the subject was alive, absolutely. If I’m reading correctly, the father’s marriage to her was over before the subject was even born and they never met. That is absolutely not a stepparent.

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Ahh, I may have missed that. I would agree as well. She is then a former spouse of a parent and no reporting required on that.