As blended families become more and more common and socially accepted these days, it stands to reason that sometimes a stepparent might have the desire to adopt one of their stepchildren. This beautiful and loving request is honored in the state of Texas provided that a few stipulations are met. Let’s explore what the process looks like as well as some things to consider.
Several Guidelines To Start
Before even filing a petition for adoption, the state of Texas requires that one of the following criteria is met:
- The child only has one living biological parent
- The adoptee is a grown adult
- There is only one biological parent present because the other chooses not to be involved or cannot be located
- The absent parent is willing to sign documents releasing them of responsibility of the child
Once the child is formally adopted, they get to enjoy all of the benefits as if they were their adopted parent’s biological child, including being able to inherit from them and receiving a new birth certificate with their new last name.
Beginning The Process
In order for a stepparent to assume adoption rights of a child, the child’s biological parents first have to agree to the change. Usually the biological parent that is still raising the child has no objection, but permission must be obtained from the other biological parent.
This individual can give consent through a voluntary termination of parental rights, in which they sign a document stating they give up all claims to the child and no longer have to pay child support.
If the decision is contested, it might end up in court, where a judge will have to decide whether the biological parent should retain rights or not. Typically indications of not having paid child support within the last year or long-term incarceration will lead the judge to ending the biological parent’s rights.
Filing For Adoption
Once the issue of parental rights has been finalized, it’s time to formally file to adopt your stepchild. Your spouse must agree to the adoption, and there will be a review of both of your backgrounds, as well as an evaluation concerning the home life and stability of the child.
An amicus attorney will also be appointed to represent the best interests of the child, and will work to make sure the court has all of the documentation needed before a decision is made.
Benefits Of This System
While many of the facets of stepchild adoption are similar to other types of adoption, it’s important to note that this process can be easier or faster because the parties are already related.
If you are interested in adopting your stepchild and need help navigating the process in Texas, contact Goldsberry & Associates today.