When is it Time to Consider a Step-Parent Adoption in Texas?

For years, people have been saying that there’s no point in getting married since more than half of all marriages end in divorce. And, while you can spin the statistics in a way that makes it seem like this is true, don’t believe everything you hear.

More people who get married stay together than get divorced. However, divorce isn’t the end of the world. For some people, it’s simply the start of a fresh, new life. Some people fall out of love. Others just realize that they aren’t the same person they were when they got married.

If you’ve gotten divorced, that doesn’t mean you won’t find the love of your life. In fact, a lot of people get remarried following divorce. And, a lot of these people have children from their first marriage. When they get remarried, they have to find a way to manage their new, blended family.

Blended families encounter a lot of legal issues that other families don’t have to deal with. You may decide that your new spouse wants to adopt your children. If you find yourself in this position, it may be a good idea to contact an experienced adoption lawyer in Texas.

What is a Step-Parent Adoption?

Step-Parent adoption is just like any other adoption. The big difference is that one of the parents will remain the legal parent of the children being adopted. Their new spouse will be the new, adoptive parent if the adoption is approved.

The step-parent adoption process is rather straight forward. Ideally, the non-custodial parent will consent to the adoption. In most step-parent adoption cases, one parent is either deceased, in jail, or out of the picture. Most parents who are still involved in their child’s life would never consent to an adoption.

If the parent gives consent, that makes the process a lot easier. Your Texas adoption lawyer can help you file the necessary paperwork with the court. They’ll also help arrange for your home study. Once these steps are completed, your petition will move ahead with the court.

In a step-parent adoption, the parent’s new spouse is asking the court to make them the adoptive parent of their spouse’s children. They want to do this to solidify their family. They also want to make things easier for their new family.

Can the Other Parent Fight the Adoption?

The problem with a step-parent adoption is that there’s always the chance the other parent will challenge it. Until a parent’s rights are terminated, they will remain the children’s legal parent. This means that one of two things need to happen:

  • The other parent must waive their rights and consent to the adoption
  • The court must terminate the parent’s rights

The courts are very reluctant to terminate a parent’s rights. The goal of the courts is to keep families together – not tear them apart. This means your Texas adoption attorney will have to present very strong evidence to convince a judge to terminate someone’s parental rights.

In order to demonstrate that a parent’s rights should be terminated, your lawyer will have to prove the following:

  • The other parent is abusive toward the children
  • They’ve abandoned their children
  • They are a danger to the children
  • They’ve neglected their children for an extended period of time
  • They haven’t had contact with the children for years
  • They’ve failed to support their children

Keep in mind, the evidence must be unwavering. This is why a step-parent adoption can take quite some time. Your Texas adoption attorney must prove that the other parent doesn’t deserve to retain their parental rights.

What Happens Next?

Once you’ve either received consent or the other parent’s rights have been terminated, the adoption process will continue. You and your spouse will have to file a joint petition for adoption. You’ll also need to complete a home study to show that you can provide the children with a safe and secure home.

If the adoption is approved, you and your spouse will be deemed the legal parents of your children. You will be able to change your children’s last names to match your new last name. Your spouse will have all the rights that any other adoptive parent will have.

Your Texas adoption attorney at E&W LGBT Family Law can help streamline this process for you. They can make sure you cross all your “t”s and dot all your “i”s. Having an experienced attorney by your side will make the process a lot easier and a lot less stressful.

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