How Do I Complete a Step-Parent Adoption in Austin if the Biological Parent is in Jail or Missing?

For a lot of LGBT couples, it can be difficult to have their own children. Sometimes they rely on a surrogate. Other times they choose to adopt. But, if you or your partner have children from a prior relationship, you may want to complete a step-parent adoption.

The great thing about a step-parent adoption in Austin is that they are almost always approved by the court. As long as you complete the necessary paperwork, there aren’t many obstacles. The biggest obstacle, however, will be getting the consent of the second biological parent.

Depending on your situation, it can be hard to get that consent. In fact, a lot of step-parent adoptions are done because the second parent is absent or even missing. The courts do require that you obtain consent. If you show the court that you’ve done everything possible and still can’t locate the other parent, you may be able to get a court order terminating their parental rights.

The best thing to do is call an experienced LGBT adoption attorney in Austin. They know what it takes to complete a step-parent adoption. They also have a good rapport with the courts so they can communicate with the judge and the court clerks in a way that you can’t.


What are the Basic Steps to a Step-Parent Adoption in Texas?

A step-parent adoption is completed in the same way as a regular adoption. The difference is, you have to prove that the biological parent consented to the adoption. The basic steps to a step-parent adoption in Austin, Texas is as follows:

  • Termination of Parental Rights – Before you even file your adoption petition, you need to terminate the other biological parent’s legal rights. If your partner has a good relationship with them, it may be easy to get consent. If they consent to the termination, it will make the adoption process a lot smoother for you and your LGBT adoption lawyer in Austin.
  • File a petition for adoption – You must file the appropriate petition with the court. Your Austin LGBT adoption lawyer will make sure this is done properly.
  • Complete a home study – No matter what kind of adoption you’re pursuing, you need to complete a home study. This is when a social worker will come out to make sure you have a safe and clean home. They’ll also interview you and your partner to make sure you’ll make good adoptive parents.
  • Appoint an attorney ad litum – The court will appoint an attorney ad litum to make sure the child’s rights are represented. This attorney will prepare a report to the judge with their recommendation as to whether the adoption should be approved.
  • Finalize your adoption – Your LGBT adoption attorney will attend your final hearing with you. This is when the judge will, hopefully, finalize your step-parent adoption.


It May Be Difficult to Terminate Parental Rights

One way to terminate a parent’s rights is by getting their consent. In the case of an absent parent, this won’t be hard. If they aren’t involved in their child’s life, they won’t object to you and your partner adopting them. Some parents even appreciate a step-parent adoption because it means they won’t be liable for child support anymore.

There are also situations where it’s hard to locate the parent. They could be in jail, presumed dead or just missing. If this is the case, you can ask the court to terminate their parental rights via a court order. The same is true if the other parent refuses to consent to the adoption.

In cases like this, your LGBT adoption attorney in Austin will ask the court to terminate the other parent’s parental rights. There are only three (3) situations in which the judge will do this. They include:

  • The parent is absent or poses a danger to the children
  • It is the only way to make the adoption possible and it’s in the best interests of the children
  • The risk to the child of losing a relationship with their parent is outweighed by the risk that the child won’t receive adequate support by that parent


Contact an Experienced LGBT Adoption Lawyer in Austin

If you and your spouse are looking to complete a step-parent adoption, you don’t want to try to handle it on your own. Call Eddington & Worley and speak with an experienced LGBT adoption lawyer in Austin. They’ll make sure your petition is handled properly from the start.

Share this article: