If you or your spouse is a stepparent working to adopt your spouse’s child, here are some basics you need to know about the process. Keep in mind, while this information will get you started, you should speak to a family law attorney for child custody in Frisco, TX when considering the process. Woods, May & Matlock is a North Texas law firm with over thirty years’ experience handling child custody cases. We hope this information helps you get started.
Why do many families seek stepparent adoption?
Many families decide to take the plunge and seek stepparent adoption when they want to change the last name of the adoptive child to their step parent’s last name. Sometimes, it’s a case where the child’s other parent is unfortunately not a part of the child’s life and the stepparent has been serving in their absence as the parental role for the child. There are also situations where a couple wants to raise their child without interference from the other biological parent, who may not be a good role model or custodian for the child.
Texas Law: Two Parents Only
Texas law allows for only two parents to be in custody of a child. This means if your ex shares custody with you, you must ask a judge to terminate their parental rights before you can change custody to your new spouse as the adoptive parent of your child.
A Two Part Process
Again, the first step to step parent adoption is to get your ex to sign over their parental rights. When we help families in this situation, we start by obtaining termination rights from the other parent first, if they are alive. The biological father or mother must sign an agreement to terminate their parental rights. This removes their right to see the child and their responsibility to pay for child support. You can still chose to have the biological parent see your child, but they have to legally relinquish their rights to do so in order for a stepparent to adopt the child. Sometimes talking to your ex about no longer having to pay child support will be enough to get them to sign this agreement. Other times, you may want a lawyer present when you negotiate with them.
If the biological parent agrees to sign the termination, you can file for an “uncontested adoption” for your spouse to become stepparent.
When a biological parent refuses to terminate parental rights, you will have to prove to the court it’s in your child’s best interest to grant your petition to end their custody. This can be a lengthy and difficult process but we can help.
When you file for a stepparent adoption, make sure to hire a qualified family law attorney for child custody in Frisco, TX. Call North Texas family law firm Woods, May & Matlock for a free brief phone consultation at 972-387-9955 today.