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How Can I Adopt My Stepchild in Texas?

 Posted on April 16, 2024 in Family Law

Galveston County, TX stepparent adoption lawyerWhen it comes to adopting a stepchild in Texas, the law is concerned about two main things: the best interests of the child and the rights of the other parent. For this reason, stepparent adoption in Texas involves a complex legal process with different criteria depending on the reason for adoption. 

Before you file a petition for adoption, speak to a qualified adoption lawyer who can help you understand your options in your particular case. 

When Can I Adopt My Stepchild?

Texas law requires that certain criteria be met for a stepparent to adopt a minor child:

  • The child must be at least two years old

  • The child must have lived with the stepparent for at least six months

  • If the child is at least 12 years old, he or she must consent to the adoption

  • If the child is at least 10 years old and the adoption will involve a name change, he or she must consent to the name change

Even if these criteria are met, however, a court will want to make sure that a potential adoptive parent is not infringing on the parental rights of the child’s biological parents. A Texas court, therefore, will require the following: 

  • The child’s other parent who is not your spouse must either be deceased or have had his or her parental rights terminated.

  • Your spouse (the child’s biological parent) must join you in the petition.

Can I Terminate the Other Parent’s Rights?

If the parental rights of the other parent have not been terminated and that parent is alive, the only way you can proceed with adoption is if a court terminates the legal relationship between the parent and the child. You can file a petition to terminate the parent’s legal rights to the child when you file the adoption petition. 

Keep in mind, however, that courts are very hesitant to end a parent-child relationship. You will need to provide clear evidence that the parent in question has been neglectful or abusive of the child. Texas law lists several cases which could be grounds to terminate the parent-child relationship, including:

  • The parent left the child with a third party and expressed an intent not to return.

  • The parent left the child with a third party, did not provide sufficient support, and was away for at least three months.

  • The parent placed the child in a situation that presented a threat to the child’s physical or emotional well-being.

  • The parent knowingly abandoned the mother of the child during pregnancy without providing support or medical care, continued to abandon the child even after the birth, and has not provided child support since.

  • The parent has been convicted of the death or serious injury of a child.

  • The parent has been responsible for the child not being enrolled in school.

Contact a Galveston, TX Adoption Attorney

Because Texas law is protective of both children and parental rights, stepparent adoption in Texas requires careful attention to the legal process. If you are considering adopting a stepchild, seek an experienced Galveston County, Texas adoption lawyer who will fight to get you the best results possible. Daniel R. Bacalis, P.C. is a board-certified family law specialist who offers compassionate guidance and top-tier legal services. Call 409-392-1511 for a free consultation today.

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