Helping Texas Families Navigate Divorce Since 1986

Adopting A Stepchild In Texas

I founded the Law Office of Richard Lybarger in Sugar Land to exclusively practice family law. I am attorney Richard Lybarger, and assisting Texas families with their adoptions is one of the most rewarding aspects of my job. For more than 35 years, I have helped families navigate the adoption process, including the stepparent adoption process.

The Process For Adopting A Stepchild In Texas

In the state of Texas, a stepparent can go through the legal process to adopt their spouse’s child. In order for a stepparent to adopt a child, one of the following circumstances has to exist:

  • Only one biological parent is still alive.
  • The other biological parent agrees with the adoption and is willing to sign a consent form to allow the adoption.
  • The other biological parent is absent, cannot be found or located and is not in the child’s life.

After the stepparent adoption is complete and finalized, the stepparent assumes all of the parental responsibilities and parental rights. In the event of a divorce or separation, the stepparent would be subject to the child support laws and have visitation and custody parental rights. In addition, the child’s name can be legally changed during the adoption proceedings. The child will also receive a new birth certificate that is updated with the new information.

Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions About Stepparent Adoptions

The adoption process can be complicated. In a stepparent adoption, it can be especially so if the other biological parent is still in the picture, and getting assistance from stepparent adoption lawyer can be crucial. Here, I will answer some of the more commonly asked questions. For answers to your specific questions, please reach out to me and schedule an appointment.

What Are The Benefits Of Adopting A Stepchild?

In a stepparent adoption, the natural result is that a blended family comes together and is officially unified by a legal process. Aside from this natural outcome, another benefit to the stepparent adoption is that the child will have all of the same legal rights as any other biological child and can receive insurance benefits and have inheritance rights.

Does The Child Get To Have A Say In A Stepparent Adoption?

If the child is older than age 12, the child must consent to the adoption. If the child refuses to consent to the adoption, the judge has discretion. Most courts will take a child’s consent – or lack of consent – into consideration when considering a petition for adoption. If a child over the age of 12 refuses to consent, the parents will have to prove to the judge that it is in the child’s best interests to be adopted by the stepparent.

What Happens If The Absent Biological Parent Refuses To Allow A Stepparent Adoption?

Texas law will only allow a child to have two parents. However, just because a biological parent refuses to allow a stepchild adoption, does not mean that it can’t happen. A stepparent and stepchild adoption can still proceed if the biological parent’s parental rights are terminated. If certain conditions are met, a judge can order the termination of an absent biological parent’s rights.

Do You Need An Adoption Lawyer?

In my nearly four decades as a family law attorney, I have handled all types of adoptions, including stepparent and stepchild adoptions. I have the knowledge and experience needed to help you. To schedule an appointment, please call my office at 713-678-0658 or send an inquiry through my online form. I look forward to talking to you more about your case.