In “Explaining the Process: Filing the Adoption Petition in a Step Parent Adoption Case”, we talked about the next stages to a stepparent adoption following the biological parent’s termination of rights. We explained the petition you will file with your lawyer and social study required next by the court where you and your family will be interviewed and observed by an evaluator. In this post, we’ll cover the next stage of the stepparent adoption process.
When you’re gathering information, we know it can be overwhelming at times. That’s why having someone experienced in family law guiding you through the process makes all the difference. You’ll remove so much stress from the process and be involved in each stage when you hire a good attorney.
Woods, May & Matlock has the right family lawyer for child custody in Denton, TX ready to advise and assist you in the adoption process. We’ll be with you all the way to that exciting, ceremonial moment of officially adopting your child as a stepparent. Read on to get an idea of what happens after your social study evaluation is completed and sent to the judge.
Working With an Amicus Attorney
The judge appoints an Amicus Attorney next to work as a friend of the court in deciding the best placement for your child. This attorney ad litem will represent the child and their best interests and go into further depth on the information your social study evaluator collected. Expect to pay for the social study and the ad litem attorney bills as the adopting parents.
Like the social study evaluator, the Amicus Attorney will interview you, your child, and other people who play a role in your child’s life. Much of the conversations had with the social study evaluator will repeat in this stage with the Amicus Attorney as they make their own unbiased observations of the child’s home life and familial relationships. The judge will look at their opinion, along with the social study evaluator’s report to make a decision on the adoption. At the end of the Attorney Amicus’ report, they will make a recommendation on whether or not the court should approve the adoption.
Final Stages in the Courtroom
At your assigned court date, you and your lawyer, along with your child will go to a hearing with the judge. The hearing will start with termination of the biological parent’s rights. Usually, your child will be required to wait outside the courtroom for this stage. Next, your child will join you for the adoption stage. Both your attorney and the Amicus Attorney will ask you and the stepparent questions, and sometimes they will ask your child questions, as well. Your child will have to consent to the adoption if they are over 12 years old. At this point, if the court approves the adoption, many families chose to record the ceremony and take photos or video with the judge of the process.
The judge will sign an order to finalize the adoption and issue a decree stating you and the step parent’s custodial rights. The judge will review all documents are in order and file the case, letting you celebrate the long road to your child’s full adoption.
If you need a family lawyer for child custody in Denton, TX, call Woods, May & Matlock. We offer a free brief phone consultation, so don’t wait to make that call today at 972-387-9955.