If you or a spouse is considering a stepparent adoption, this can be a wonderful way to officially unite your family. Texas law requires certain procedures for this process, so it is essential to retain the services of a family law attorney who is familiar with such adoptions. Contact Austin stepparent adoption lawyer Abraham Kant Esquire for a free initial review of your legal options regarding step-parenting.
A stepparent adoption is a legal process in which the spouse of one parent files a petition in court to secure legal parental rights of the spouse’s children through the process of adoption. The process is very similar to that of a traditional adoption, but with an important caveat: This process is only allowed in certain circumstances.
To file a petition for a stepparent adoption, one of the following must apply:
To adopt a stepchild or stepchildren, the children must be in the custody of the parent the spouse married. Assuming all these terms apply, you may be eligible to apply for an adoption under Texas law.
The process of adoption in Texas can be complex and requires the guidance of an experienced Austin family law attorney. Here’s what you can expect:
Any adoption process begins with filing the petition in family court. Your attorney will draft the petition and submit it in accordance with your local court’s guidelines.
If the other parent is alive and known, the courts must obtain a termination of their parental rights before the adoption can take effect. This requires that the other parent sign an agreement that severs their rights and responsibilities as a parent. If he or she refuses to sign the papers, then the matter goes to court. A judge will determine whether the parent’s rights should be terminated during a formal hearing, based on what’s in the best interest of the child.
If the previous step results in the revocation of parental rights, the petition moves to a social study of the prospective family. This may include visiting your home, evaluating your work situation, screening with family and children, and other observations that determine the fitness of the stepparent to have legal parental rights.
Next, the courts will appoint an Amicus Attorney, who will serve as a non-biased reviewer of the evaluations and will determine if the situation is best for the children and the family. They will next draft an opinion in the form of a document, which along with the social study, will proceed to the courts with a final recommendation.
An experienced Austin adoption attorney can help you through this process. For more information on stepparent adoption, contact Abraham Kant to schedule a free initial consultation. The process may seem complicated, but it’s well worth the effort and due diligence.