When parents who already have children in Texas remarry, their children’s new stepparent will often feel a sense of emotional, financial and social responsibility toward those children. From a practical standpoint, their role may be very close to that of a legal or biological parent.
However, from the state’s point of view, a stepparent only has an obligation to their stepchildren by virtue of remaining married to their parent and living in the same household. At least, most of the time. As a result, a stepparent adoption may prove necessary if someone wants to fully protect their relationship with their stepchildren regardless of what the future holds. The following are the basic requirements for a parent who wants to complete a stepparent adoption in Texas.
The consent of the parents
If the parent of the child does not approve of the adoption, possibly because of benefits available to the child through a deceased parent, it will not be possible for a stepparent to move forward with the adoption process. They will typically also need the approval of the other parent if they are still alive. A legal or biological parent will need to rescind their rights to allow a stepparent adoption unless they have already died or the state terminated their rights previously.
There will be a lot of documentation required to complete a stepparent adoption in Texas. For example, the family will need to undergo an adoption evaluation, a process that typically includes a home study. The stepparent seeking the adoption will need to submit to a background check and will need to sign numerous other legal documents to even become eligible for a stepparent adoption. Small mistakes in that paperwork can significantly delay the process.
Once someone has the appropriate paperwork in place and has completed every requisite step for a stepparent adoption, including a background check, the matter will need to go to family court. If the child is older and the adoption will result in a change to their name, then the child’s approval is often an important part of the official adoption process in Texas family court. A judge will need to agree with the claim that the stepparent adoption would serve the best interest of the child after reviewing the family’s circumstances.
Although it can be a very lengthy procedure, many stepparents find adoption to be a worthwhile and rewarding experience. Understanding the requirements for a stepparent adoption could help an adult determine whether they are currently in a position to become the legal parent of their stepchild in Texas.