Even if they are not biological parents, stepparents can develop a parental relationship with their stepchildren and would want to create the best environment for them. Sometimes, the best way to do this is to make crucial decisions for them regarding school, medical care or other important life matters. This is why stepparents consider adopting their stepchildren.
Who can file a stepparent adoption case?
In Texas, any adult who is a stepparent to a minor can file an adoption case with the court. It is necessary for the child’s parent, the stepparent’s spouse, to also be a petitioner in the case.
Termination of parental rights
In order for the adoption case to move forward, the child’s other parent can no longer have parental rights over the child. If the situation warrants it, a petition to terminate the parent-child relationship may be filed with the court before or simultaneously with the stepparent adoption case.
If the other parent is already deceased, the petitioner can file a petition for adoption directly with the court.
The child’s consent
Children who are at least 12 years old must consent to the adoption in writing or in court. Minors at least 10 years old also have a say in whether they want to change their names after the adoption. However, the court may waive this requirement if it best suits the child’s interests.
Factors the court will evaluate
Courts do not automatically grant stepparent adoptions. They consider several factors, which include but are not limited to the following:
- Petitioners’ criminal record and history
- Adoption suitability evaluation results
- Child custody suitability evaluation results
Understanding how stepparent adoption works in Texas can give stepparents a good grasp of the process. However, stepparents should note that even if they believe that adopting their stepchildren is the best course of action, it is for the courts to decide if this is the best option for the child’s well-being.