If you are thinking about adopting your stepchild in Texas, the first thing you need to think about is how the legal process works. It is more than just paperwork and a few court appearances. In the same way that you have to prepare and plan to have a biological child, you must also plan for adopting your stepchild.
As a child of adoption myself, and as an adoption attorney in Texas, I am passionate about helping families arrive at the best possible outcome when making this important decision. I encourage you to continue reading if you are looking for more information on how to adopt a stepchild in Texas.
Then, when you’re ready to start the legal adoption process, I will be here to help you start building your case to adopt your stepchild.
Getting Started on Stepchild Adoption in Texas
The first step in any adoption process is, of course, to make the decision to adopt. You want to be absolutely committed to the decision. Be ready to potentially face difficulties during the process in addition to the incredible joys that come with adoption. You are about to change your life and your stepchild’s life forever!
Once you have decided to move forward, you will need to make sure that the other biological parent in the equation no longer has parental rights to the child. For example, if you are married to your stepchild’s father, you will need to ensure that the biological mother no longer has parental rights to the child.
While there are very specific grounds to forcefully terminate a parent’s rights within the Texas Family Code, the most common scenario is when a parent voluntarily relinquishes their parental rights to their child, resulting in their parental rights termination. This subsequently leads to the opportunity to adopt your stepchild. However, this is not always a clean process. You may need to take legal action to complete this process.
The Legal Process to Adopt Your Stepchild
When you are ready to formally open a stepparent adoption case, you will need to take specific legal action depending on the biological parent/child relationship status.
– If your stepchild’s biological parent has not relinquished parental rights and there is no court order for a termination of parental rights, then you will need to file an “Original Petition to Terminate Parent-Child Relationship and for Adoption.”
– Alternatively, if there is a court order calling for a biological parent’s termination of parental rights or if a biological parent is deceased, then you can file an “Original Petition for Adoption.”
You want to be very clear about which biological parent is terminating parental rights, which biological parent is retaining parental rights, and the stepparent’s role in adopting the stepchild. That’s why I recommend working with an adoption attorney to ensure this is handled properly in the Texas family court system.
Ready to Adopt? Work with a Family Law Attorney
When you choose to adopt your stepchild, you have a wonderful opportunity to legally welcome your stepchild into the family. I can help you navigate each challenge along the way and provide you with a better understanding of Texas adoption laws.
I have helped families in Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Harris County work through the court system to complete the adoption process successfully. I am passionate about helping your family during this exciting time.
Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss your situation, the role of each biological parent, and whether any parental rights have already been terminated. Contact me as quickly as possible to start building your case. I will fight hard to support your family during this potentially stressful but exciting time.