Adoption is a legal procedure where someone becomes a non-biological child’s legal mother or father. The term “relative adoption” refers to when someone who is related to a child by blood or marriage adopts a child. A stepparent adoption occurs when the husband or wife of the child’s biological mother or father adopts the child.
Stepparent adoptions are in the category of “relative adoptions” since the stepparent is related to the child through marriage. They are typically some of the best hearings to observe because the biological parent’s partner is stepping in and making a lifelong commitment to be the child’s legal mother or father. Grandparent adoption is another type of relative adoption, however, it’s more common for children to be adopted by stepmothers and stepfathers than by grandparents.
Biological Child vs. Adopted Child
Is there any difference between a biological child and an adopted child? In the legal sense, no, there is no difference. When a stepparent adopts a stepchild, they have all the same rights and responsibilities as they would toward a biological child.
The stepparent can consent to medical treatment, enroll the child in school, have to pay for any loss or damage caused by the child, decide on the child’s religious upbringing, enroll the child in extracurricular activities, and if they divorce, the stepparent will have custody rights and child support obligations as would any biological parent.
“What about parental rights, do they have to be terminated to allow for a stepparent adoption?” Yes. In order for a stepparent to adopt a stepchild in Texas, the parental rights have to be terminated between the child and the other parent who is not the stepparent’s husband or wife. This can be done through a private case or as a result of a matter involving the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).
To speak to an attorney from our firm about stepparent adoption, we invite you to contact Hunt Law Firm, PLLC.