Preserving Families

And Protecting Assets

mother and two kids walking at sunset

How can I adopt my stepchild?

Marrying someone who already has children can multiply one’s joy but also bring complications. A stepparent may not have the right to give consent for school activities, medical decisions or other important matters. Additionally, some stepparents simply wish to give official status to their relationship with their stepchild. They can pursue this goal through stepparent adoption.

Steps toward adoption

Adopting the child of one’s spouse sounds straightforward. In some cases, it can be simply a matter of filing the appropriate paperwork with the courts and completing the legal formalities, including

  • Living with the child for the amount of time Texas law requires
  • Consenting to a criminal background check
  • Responding to questions about the marriage and living arrangements
  • Providing documentation for the marriage and the child’s birth
  • Submitting to a home study in some cases

However, before taking any of these steps, a stepparent must obtain the consent of the noncustodial parent, if he or she is living. Parents who are a major part of their child’s life might not be willing to sign away their parental rights, and this is a roadblock for adoption. Nevertheless, in cases where the noncustodial parent is not active in the child’s life, the courts might consider terminating his or her rights so the adoption can go forward.

Facing the challenge with confidence

Because the courts hold in high esteem the rights of parents, many stepparents face a challenge when attempting to adopt their spouses’ children. Seeking the termination of someone else’s parental rights can be a delicate matter, and proving one’s fitness as a parent is not always as clear cut as it sounds. With legal advocacy, stepparents can move forward with their adoption plans confident that they are receiving solid advice and guidance.