Over our last few posts, we’ve been focused on the process for a stepparent adoption in Texas. If you haven’t already, check out our other posts going over more information on the basics to a stepparent adoption and termination of parental rights for the other biological parent.
At Woods, May & Matlock, we know a stepparent adoption can seem like a daunting process, but we find it can go relatively smoothly. When you have a good family lawyer for child custody in Plano, TX, they handle the paperwork needed to file for parental rights termination and adoption. They also will work with the biological parent to convince them it’s in the child’s best interest to let go of their rights. Typically in these cases, the stepparent is already filling the role of the other parent with the child which helps them decide to sign over their rights. If they don’t, your lawyer will represent you in the court to plead and explain to the judge the necessity of changing parental rights for your child’s adoption.
For the purposes of explaining the next stages of the process, let’s assume you’ve gained the termination of parental rights from the biological parent and you’re ready for the next stages. The next move is to file an adoption petition.
The Stepparent Adoption Petition
Your lawyer will help you file a “Texas Adoption of a Stepchild” petition to deliver to the local juvenile court in your county. As stepparent, you and your spouse must agree on the adoption and together file a joint petition. Both of you will be the petitioners and the other biological parent will be the defendant.
Next Step: A Social Study
After filing, the court will require a social study to determine the quality of your child’s relationship with their stepparent. A county organization or individual family evaluator will perform an initial screening with each family member to start. This will involve meeting individually with each resident of the home: you, your child, the stepparent, and sometimes other sources or children who live in your home. The evaluator will also visit your home, look over employment records, and ask to see financial records. In a report, the social study evaluator will list information from interviews and testimonials, observations, and evaluations of the home and members of your family.
The evaluator’s report helps show a judge the step parent’s home will be a good place for your child to grow. Since the adoption is permanent, even if your relationship to the stepparent ends, the court seeks solid proof your child has a close relationship to the stepparent and will benefit from the adoption.
If it’s time to get help from a family lawyer for child custody in Plano, TX, call Woods, May & Matlock. Whether you’re going through a divorce or looking to adopt a child, schedule a free brief phone consultation today at 972-387-9955.