When marrying a significant other with children, you gain children as well. If you develop a relationship with your stepchildren, you may wish to further this relationship to a legal bond to protect your relationship with your children. Our Woodlands adoption attorneys share what stepparents should understand before beginning the stepchild adoption process.
Adopting your stepchildren creates a permanent legal bond with your children to establish legal parentage. If you wish to adopt your stepchildren, all parties must be in agreement regarding the adoption and the establishment of this legal parentage. The stepchild adoption process has many benefits for families as the stepparent now gains increased legal rights and protections for their children, as well as the children now having their stepparent become a legal parent.
The Stepchild Adoption Process
When a stepparent pursues adoption of their stepchildren, two things must occur: the child’s other parent (not the stepparent’s spouse) must have their parental rights terminated and the stepparent must file a petition for adoption with the help of their spouse. If the child’s other parent has already lost or relinquished their parental rights to the child, then the stepparent will only need to file a petition for adoption.
To file the original petition for adoption of the child, your spouse must join you in the filing, which confirms their willingness and agreement of your adoption of the child. If the child is over the age of 12, they will also need to consent to the adoption in writing as part of the petition. An adoption attorney can help you fill out and file the petition to help streamline the adoption process.
After the petition for adoption and the motion to terminate parental rights are filed, the petitioning parties will need to attend a court date for the court to hear their case. The termination of parental rights and adoption can be done in the same court hearing if desired, and your attorney can help you prepare for both cases. A judge will hear your case and decide if the child is eligible for adoption, as well as if adoption is in their best interests. From there, the adoption will either be approved or denied.
Why Should I Consult An Adoption Attorney?
While it may seem like a stepchild adoption is a simple process, you should not go at it alone! An adoption attorney can help you understand the legal requirements before pursuing the adoption process with your stepchildren. Together, they can help you prepare for the adoption process and help you compile all necessary information for the adoption petition. After the petition has been filed, your adoption attorney can then guide you through your court dates and any other necessary paperwork that should be filed.
Woodlands Adoption Attorneys
At Parchman Law Group P.L.L.C., our adoption attorneys understand the importance of protecting your bond with your stepchildren. Together, we can help your family create the legal bond it deserves and protect your relationship through the stepchild adoption process.
Are you considering stepparent adoption? Schedule a complimentary consultation with our attorneys by contacting us online or calling (713) 364-0777.