Stepparent adoption is a wonderful way to solidify a new family structure. Not only will it allow your spouse to share the legal rights and responsibilities of raising a child with you, but it can also strengthen the bond between your spouse and child.
To adopt a stepchild in Texas, one of the following situations must apply:
- the other parent is absent;
- the other parent is deceased;
- the other parent is unknown; or
- the other parent is indifferent and not involved in the child’s life.
Furthermore, for your spouse to begin the adoption process, your child must be in your custody.
Stepparent Adoption Process
You and your spouse must begin the adoption process together. The first step is to file a petition for adoption with the district court in the county where you currently reside. After this step, you can either:
- File an Original Petition to Terminate Parent-Child Relationship (along with the adoption petition). This document is used when the other parent is alive but has no relationship with their child or is voluntarily giving up parental rights; or
- File an Original Petition for Adoption. This document is used when the other parent is deceased or there is already a motion to terminate the parental rights of the other parent.
If the court accepts this petition, the next step is to complete a social study evaluation. This investigates the stepparent’s home and financial records. Additionally, it evaluates the family situation to determine if the stepparent is capable enough to adopt the child.
The next step in the process is to go before a judge for the adoption hearing. The judge will hear from you, the stepparent, the child (if 12 years or older), any other members of the household, and/or close family and friends. The judge will review all information and testimonies to decide whether to grant the adoption or not. If the judge grants the adoption, the stepparent will have all the legal rights and responsibilities of a biological parent.
Helping Establish Families
Stepparent adoption, like all other forms of this legal action, can be a complex process. Our adoption attorney can guide you through the legal proceedings and help ease the legal aspects of the process.
For a complimentary consultation, contact our firm online or call us at (713) 903-8112.