Stepparent adoption occurs when the spouse of a parent petitions the court
to legally secure parental rights of their spouse’s child/children.
It is probably the most common form of adoption in Texas, as well as a
joyous occasion in most instances. The necessary steps must be taken to
ensure a legitimate future with the child, so it is imperative you seek
legal counsel from an experienced family law attorney who understands
the particulars of the court and the entire process.
Termination of Parental Rights
Before moving forward with an adoption, a termination a living but absent
parent’s parental rights must generally be obtained. In many cases,
an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights can be signed by the
absent biological parent. If the non-custodial parent refuses to relinquish
their parental rights, the case moves to court in order to determine if
the court has a basis for terminating those rights without the parent’s consent.
File a Petition
Similar to any adoption process, you must begin by filing a petition to
adopt with your local family court. This can happen at the same time or
after the termination has taken place.
The next step includes a custody evaluation of the potential family. This
process involves an appointed official to visit the home, screen all adults
and children living in the home, observe the living environment, and evaluate
employment and financial records of the prospective parents. The information
acquired is used to help assess the situation and determine the suitability
of the stepparent.
Attorney ad Litem
Once the social study is complete, an Attorney ad Litem or Amicus Attorney
is appointed to serve as an unbiased lawyer who will repeat some of the
previous evaluations, such as observations and interviews. This attorney
then presents their opinion to the court with a recommendation of whether
or not to allow the adoption to be finalized.
Speak with our firm to learn more about stepparent adoption.