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How to Adopt Your Step-child in Texas

Being a parent to a child doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be their biological parent. Parenthood can come in all forms. It can be from an uncle, aunt, grandparent, a close adult family friend, and even from a step-parent. While being step-parent may seem a little strange at first, it can result in a good parent-child relationship. Sometimes that relationship even grows so much that step-parents decide to take it further and adopt their step-children.

Adoption Requirements

Before a step-parent goes on to the adoption process, at least one of a few conditions must be met.

  • Only one living biological parent remains and such a parent is absent.
  • The parent has no involvement in the child’s life.
  • The absent biological parent is okay with the adoption of the stepchild

These are the conditions for the relinquishment of parental rights of the biological parent. The adoption process will begin once any of the conditions are met.

The Adoption Process

The adoption process is technically two steps:

  1. Relinquishing of the absent parent’s rights over their child
  2. The actual adoption process.

The step-parent, together with their spouse, must file their petition to adopt their step-child at the local family court in the locality where the child resides. An evaluator will be then sent by the court to conduct a “social study” after the petition has been filed, a. This involves taking a closer look at the family by visiting their home and making observations. Employment and financial records are checked. Both the parents and the child are subjected to screening.

After this, an amicus attorney is assigned to the child to look after the child’s best interests during the entire adoption process. Such an attorney will interview the step-parent, the biological parent, and the child.

Once this is all done, the next step id appearing in court. This is where the relinquishing of the absentee parent will first be done. The adoption of the child should necessarily follow after compliance with requirements.

Adopting your stepchild definitely helps take your relationship with them to the next level. It will make stepchildren legal and official. And while this may seem like a simple legal process, it can mean the world for both step-parent and step-child, adding a milestone in their relationship and beginning a new chapter in their life as their legal parent.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at timothy.hutton@austintexaslegal.com

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