For many Texas families, adoption is a beautiful and appropriate way to expand and grow a family. For you, the adoption of a stepchild may be the best way to legally establish the strong relationship you already have with the biological child of your spouse. If you wish to adopt your stepchild, you would be wise to first understand how this process works and what to expect.
While stepparent adoption may make sense for your family, it can still be a complex process. There are certain legal requirements that you must complete in order to meet your goal of adopting your stepchild. If you wish to move forward with this step, it is prudent to have an experienced legal professional on your side.
What has to happen?
Stepparent adoption is not as difficult as other types of adoption, but there can be significant legal hurdles for families who want to take this step. There will be home visits, court hearings and more, yet the biggest challenge could come when working to obtain consent from the other biological parent. In order for you to complete the adoption of your stepchild, you will have to have this permission in order to move forward.
When a biological parent gives his or her permission for the stepparent to adopt his or her kid, it is essentially a relinquishing of all parental rights. This can be difficult, even for a parent who is not involved with his or her kids. If a parent refuses to grant you this permission, you may explore ways that those rights may be eventually terminated. Termination may be appropriate in the following situations:
- The biological parent physically abandoned the child.
- The biological parent financially abandoned his or her kid or did not communicate with him or her for an extended amount of time.
- The biological parent is unfit in some way, perhaps because of drug use or other issues.
Termination of parental rights can be difficult, but with help, you can traverse these challenges and eventually reach your goal of adopting your stepchild.
Your family law objectives
Family law matters are complex, and whatever the specific goals may be for your unique family, you do not have to face these difficult and emotional issues alone. It is prudent to first seek a complete explanation of your legal options and your rights before you take the first steps in the process of stepparent adoption.