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Stepparent adoption: don't navigate this complex process alone

Texas readers know that family law matters can be complex, especially when they pertain to children and child custody. For some families, adoption is a great way to legally establish a relationship between a parent and his or her stepchild. While stepparent adoption is a family law matter that seems easy in theory, you would be wise not to traverse this matter on your own.

If you have the goal of adopting your stepchildren, it will require the termination of the other biological parent's legal rights, even if he or she is not present in the life of the child. Before you initiate this process and work to accomplish this objective, it can be helpful to learn more about your rights and options regarding this matter.

How does this type of adoption work?

There are various types of adoption, and while stepparent adoption is not as complex as some of the others, there could still be challenges ahead for you. It is prudent to understand the following about stepparent adoption:

  • In most stepparent adoption cases, the consent of both birth parents is required for the process to move forward.
  • By giving this permission, the "replaced" birth parent is permanently relinquishing his or her parental rights and responsibilities.
  • This permission is not a requirement if there was already a termination of the replaced parent's parental rights due to abandonment, abuse or other reason.
  • If the replaced birth parent refuses to grant this permission or is not present to do so, it may be possible to petition the court for a termination of that parent's parental rights if there are grounds to do so.

A court will not grant the termination of the rights of a parent who is active and present in the life of his or her child. However, if there is proof of abandonment, physical abuse, financial neglect or more, you may be able to move forward with this process.

Growing your Texas family

Adoption is a beautiful way to grow your family, but following the appropriate legal steps in the right way is essential to your success. As a stepparent, you may be hoping to solidify and establish the strong relationship you already have with your stepchildren. With help and guidance, it is possible for you to achieve these goals.

No matter what your family law goals may be, it is beneficial to start with an complete evaluation of your case, including a review with an experienced Board-Certified Family Law expert attorney, of both the advantages and the potential disadvantages of adoption. This can help you move forward with confidence as you pursue the right outcome for your family.

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