When you married your spouse and moved into the same house as his or her children, you became one of their parents. You support and love those children as if they were your own.
If their mother or father is not in their lives, no matter the reason, you may consider adopting them. Therefore, this is what you should know about stepparent adoptions in Texas.
You need consent
In addition to marrying their parent and living with your stepchildren, you need consent from both parents. The uninvolved parent needs to agree to give up his or her parental rights. If the courts have revoked parental rights from one parent or you cannot get in contact with this individual, and you do not need that parent’s consent.
Although you need consent from any children over the age of 12, the courts may waive the child consent requirement if it is in the best interest of the children.
Background check and preliminaries
You may also need to submit to a criminal background check. In most adoption cases, you also need to complete a home study, where a counselor visits your home to evaluate your living conditions and the relationships within your family. Stepparent adoptions are not as comprehensive as other types of adoption.
Petition the court
If the children only have your spouse as a legal parent, you should file an original petition for adoption. However, if you need to terminate one parent’s legal rights so you can complete the adoption, you should file an original petition to terminate parent-child relationships and for stepparent adoption. The court will set a hearing where you can make your case.
For the best results, get your paperwork in order early and gather evidence that the adoption is in the children’s best interest.