A stepparent adoption creates a legal relationship between the stepparent and the child or children. Without the stepparent adoption, the stepparent only has a legal relationship with their spouse. The adoption creates that parent-child relationship in the legal world, and reflects the parent-child bond and relationship in their personal world.
How does it happen?
First, the court needs to know that legal relationship with the biological parent no longer exists. This means that either the parent has died or the parent-child relationship has ended through another process. If the biological parent is still living, that parent can either consent and relinquish their parental rights by agreement or their rights can be terminated. There are specific types of situations that allow a court to terminate a parent’s rights without their agreement. The court will need proof that either the biological parent has passed away, has agreed to end the parent child relationship or it has been ended by a court order to create another parent-child relationship for this child or the children.
Second, the court will want to know, and Texas requires, that when the current stepparent is petitioning for adoption their spouse (the current biological parent of the child) must join the requesting stepparent in the adoption.
Third, the court will also review information and reports made to establish that the stepparent adoption is in the best interest of the child or children. Sometimes, based on the child’s age, the court will also need to review whether or not the child agrees with or wants to be adopted by the potential stepparent.
Finally, when the court has reviewed all of the documents and is satisfied that the adoption is in the best interest of the child or children the court will grant the adoption. It is at that moment that the relationship between the stepparent and the child is created for legal purposes. Also, the court can order that the child’s name be changed to reflect the new parent relationship, if appropriate.
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Jill O’Connell may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please call the office to set an appointment today to talk with her about stepparent adoption 940-497-5454.