- Who can file a stepparent adoption?
- A person married to the mother/father of the child
- The mother/father must also join as a co-petitioner in the adoption case.
- When is it appropriate for a stepparent to adopt his/her stepchild?
- If the other biological parent is deceased or his/her parental rights has been terminated.
- If the other parent is not deceased and the other parent agrees to the termination and adoption.
- If there is no court order terminating that biological parent's rights and that biological parent does not agree to the adoption, a petition to terminate the biological parent's rights must be filed along with the petition to adopt.
- Will a hearing before the Judge be required if all parties including the other biological parent agrees to the termination and adoption?
- Yes, both the stepparent and the parent married to the step parent has to appear in court.
- If the child is over 12 years old, the child to be adopted must also appear in court
- Most people bring the child to be adopted to court, even if the child is under 12, because this is a joyous day and a new beginning for the whole family. The Judge will allow the family to take pictures with the judge.
- Does the child have to consent to be adopted?
- If the child is 12 years old or older, he/she has to consent to the adoption in writing.
- What other measures must be taken before a child can be adopted?
- Adoption evaluation – where a social worker comes to the family's home and interviews the parent, step parent and the child. If the social worker deems that the adoption is appropriate and in the best interest of the child, he/she will issue a report to that effect to the court.
- Both the biological parent and the stepparent will have to submit to a criminal background check provided to the Judge.
- An attorney for the child (attorney ad litem) is often waived in a step parent adoption if the court determines that the waiver is for good cause.
My name is Anita Cutrer and I am a Board Certified family lawyer. If you need help with family matters, please contact us at 817-285-2855 or send us an email at [email protected] familylawtex.com
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