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Step Parent Adoption in Texas

Stepparent Adoption Texas, by

Generally adoption is an opportunity for a child to get into a loving family and a chance for adoptive parents to experience the joy of parenting. In situations where a parent is deceased, facing a divorce, or is absent, legal stepparent adoption can help bring families together. But a stepparent still has to go through a frustrating and complicated process to conclude an adoption.

An experienced family law attorney familiar with stepparent adoption process can assist you.  You will need an attorney that communicates clearly and helps ensure that the adoption process runs smoothly.

See also…Houston Adoption Attorney

What is stepparent adoption?

In a stepparent adoption, you (the step-parent) petition a court to obtain the legal parental rights to the children or child of the person you are married to. But to do this, you have to be an adult and the parent of the children (your spouse) has to join you as a petitioner in the case.  The child or children you want to adopt must be in the custody of your spouse.

A step-parent may choose to adopt a step-child if the child’s other parent died, is absent or is simply not interested in raising the child. One difference that step-parent adoption has compared to other types of adoptions is that the stepparent has generally lived with the child.

Step-parent adoption is necessary for establishing a legal relationship. The legal relationship allows for things such as:

  • The child being able to inherit from the step-parent
  • The adoptive parent can change the child’s name
  • The child becomes the legal child of the step-parent
  • The parent-child  relationship that existed between the child and the other parent is terminated

The stepparent adoption process

Your qualified adoption attorney will help you through the following process:


You can file the petition to adopt with the either the local District court or Statutory county court with jurisdiction over family law cases.  These courts should be in the county where the child lives or where the petitioners (adults filing the case) live.

Parental Rights termination

The adoption attorney will work to obtain a termination of parental rights from the absent parent.  The absent parent that is alive will be asked to sign an agreement to terminate their parental rights. The case moves to court if the other parent refuses to sign an agreement to terminate.  The court will then decide if it in the best interest of the child to allow termination of parental rights of the other parent.

Social study

Once the court determines that the adoption is in the best interest of the child, a social study of the prospective family will be conducted.

Non-biased attorney

After the social study, an Amicus attorney is appointed by the court to make observations, carry out interviews and other actions. The Amicus attorney does this to study if the situation is the best for the child and the family. The attorney’s opinions together with the social study results are then presented to the court with recommendations. These recommendations can either side with or discourage the step-parent adoption.

Step-parent adoption is time consuming and can be costly, but if it serves the best interest of the child, then it is worth the effort.