Difference between Half-Brother and Step Brother/Sister
By Theydiffer - July 3, 2016

Family ties can sometimes be confusing, especially in the case of large families with people of odd ages, like a 5 year old who is an uncle and cousins who are a lot of years apart. But when second marriages are added to the mix, the formula gets even more complicated. Without going too deeply into it, we will start with the basics, like what is the difference between a half brother and a step brother, for example.


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A half-brother or sister is a sibling who has only one parent in common with you. The term only applies to biological parents and their children. A child can have a half brother or a half sister if either of his parents has had children with another partner. There is a blood tie and there can be similarities in the DNA, depending on the dominant genes transmitted by the shared parent. In legal terms, in matters of inheritance from the shared parent, even a half-brother can be considered a full brother in court, unless specific provisions are made otherwise.

A step brother or sister is a child of a partner of one of the parents, who is not related to you by blood, only by alliance. You share no DNA with this person and he/she is not your biological sibling in any way. In legal terms, in a family with step children, provisions may be made as not all courts recognize step children as being legitimate successors, otherwise all children are regarded as equal if the inheritance comes from both biological parents. A step brother or sister is the son or daughter of your step mother or father.

Half-Brother vs Step Brother

So what is the difference between half-brother and step brother?

Since a family is defined by ties of blood or alliance, this is how the matter of half and step brothers and sisters must be dealt with. When it comes to blood ties, you are only connected to your half brother by a shared parent and by nothing and no one to your step brother. In legal matters, a step brother may be entitled to the same inheritance as the biological children, in keeping with the legal provisions made in this respect or depending on the agreements made between the parents who have brought their children into the marriage.

Comparison Chart

Half-brotherStep brother
Is a brother with whom you share one parentIs not blood related in any way
May have the same legal rightsMay only have the legal rights of their biological parent