Are you interested in adopting your stepchild, or is your spouse looking to adopt your son or daughter? If your answer is yes to either question, congratulations on your wonderful decision. In the United States, adoption procedures, including stepparent adoptions, are governed by state law.
Generally, it is easier to adopt a stepchild than it is to adopt a child from an adoption agency or overseas. However, each state handles stepparent adoptions differently, so you will want to speak with a Katy adoption lawyer to learn about the home study and criminal background check requirements here in Texas.
Is Consent Required for the Adoption?
If you want to adopt your stepson or stepdaughter, you cannot do this without the consent of your spouse and the child’s other parent (the noncustodial parent), unless you decide to move forward with an involuntary termination petition. If the other parent consents to the adoption, it means he or she is giving up their parental rights. This means he or she will not be legally entitled to child custody or visitation, nor will he or she be obligated to financially support the child.
If your spouse can locate the child’s other parent, then the biological parent could voluntarily terminate his or her parental rights by relinquishment.
Preparing for the Social Study
In Texas stepparent adoptions, a social study evaluation may be ordered by the court. In these situations, a social study evaluator would look at the totality of the family’s circumstances, including the parents’ criminal history, the child’s relationship with each party in the case, the home environment, as well as the financial circumstances of the biological parents and the stepparent.
From there, the evaluator would make a recommendation to the judge whether to consummate the adoption. While the judge is not bound by the evaluator’s recommendation, the judge should give it significant weight.
Although stepparent adoptions take some time, they are worth it. However, the best way to navigate the process is to have an adoption attorney guide you each step of the way.
Get started today by contacting Hunt Law Firm at (832) 781-0320.