What You Need to Know About Adopting Your New Spouse's Children
Adopting a child into your family is a beautiful and wonderful experience. For stepparents who would like to adopt their spouse’s children, the process is somewhat easier than adopting a child who is not related to either partner, though there are still some complicated steps that will require skilled legal assistance. To adopt a stepchild in Texas, the child must be in the custody of the parent to whom the petitioning stepparent is now married.
Here is what you need to know about the stepchild adoption process in Texas:
Petition Filing: The stepparent must file a petition to adopt with his or her local family court. A capable adoption attorney will able to guide you through this step.
Termination of Parental Rights: After the adopting stepparent files the request to adopt, the next step is to obtain a termination of parental rights from the absent parent, if that parent is known and alive. This formal request will essentially ask the parent to sign an agreement that terminates parental rights so that the stepparent adoption can be finalized. If the parent refuses, the adoption case will go to court where a judge will determine whether or not the stepparent adoption will serve the best interests of the child.
Social Study: If it is determined that the adoption is in the best interest of the children, the petition can progress to the next step, which is a social study of the prospective family. This will include a visit of the home, evaluation of employment, observations, and a screening with the parents and children. The social study process is intended to assist a judge in determining the fitness of a stepparent to adopt.
Amicus Attorney: An amicus attorney will be appointed after the social study. His or her role will be to serve as a non-biased attorney who will repeat many of the previous evaluations to further assist in determining what is in the best interest of the child or children as well as the family. The amicus attorney’s report and opinion will be presented to the court along with a recommendation regarding whether or not the adoption should be finalized.
Fort Worth Adoption Attorneys
Adopting your stepchild is a rewarding experience and a great way to further unify your family. If you are trying to get started on this process, it is best to seek experienced legal assistance to ensure no mistakes are made. At The Clark Law Firm, we help all types of couples and families go through the adoption process and would be honored to assist you in your journey to adopt your stepchild.
Contact our office today at (817) 435-4970 to schedule a free consultation!