Family and Criminal Law Blog

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions About Stepparent Adoptions in Texas

What is the process to adopt my stepchild in Texas?

Stepparent adoptions are the most common type of adoption in Texas and across the nation.  In fact, approximately 1,300 new stepfamilies are created every day through remarriage or re-coupling.  Many stepparents will seek to adopt their new spouse’s children after the wedding.  Stepparent adoptions can be a wonderful way to create a permanent legal link between the stepparent and child, but the stepparent adoption process can be complex.  Our Midland, Texas, family law lawyers answer some of your frequently asked questions about stepparent adoptions in Texas below.  Contact our office for a personalized review of your specific adoption case.

How do I get started with adopting my stepchild in Texas?

Your first step towards adopting your stepchild will be consulting with an attorney who is knowledgeable in the field.  Your attorney will walk you through the adoption process, which begins with filing a petition for adoption.  The petition will include your full name and vital information about your stepchild.  You must also include information about the child’s biological parents, including the absent biological parent.  

Do I need to terminate the parental rights of the absent biological parent?

Before the adoption of your stepchild can proceed, you will need to terminate the rights of your non-spouse, the absent biological parent.  If this parent has not been involved in the child’s life, he or she may be willing to voluntarily sign a termination of parental rights that can then be filed with the court.  When the absent parent voluntarily terminates his or her parental rights, the adoption process can proceed far faster and with fewer complications.

At times, however, the absent biological parent will refuse to consent to the termination of parental rights or you may be unable to locate the parent.  While this complicates the process, there are still steps you can take to move the adoption process forward.  You will need to seek court termination of the absent parent’s parental rights.  Texas law offers several grounds for termination, including abandonment, mental or emotional illness, imprisonment, and more.  

How long does the stepparent adoption process take?

The process to adopt your stepchild will vary in length.  If you have the consent of both birth parents, it can proceed quite quickly. If you must request a termination of parental rights and the other parent objects, it will take several months.  Consult with your family law attorney for more information about the stepparent adoption process.  

Navarrete & Schwartz, P.C. is located in Midland, Texas and serves the surrounding cities and counties, including: Odessa in Ector County, Andrews County, Martin County, Howard County, Winkler County and Crane County.

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