Stepparents have a big role to fill. Generally, they are standing in for an absent parent. In many cases, they are stepping into the absent parent's shoes when that parent no longer has contact or a relationship with the child. For many stepparents in Texas, this means taking the steps to adopt the child and become a legal parent. At Fabio & Merrill, we see many stepparents in this situation and want you to understand the process and procedure before you begin this journey.
According to Harris County, a stepparent may adopt a child at any time as long as he or she meets the criteria. If you are currently married to one of the child's parents or you were at one time married to one of the child's parents, then you may be able to adopt the child as a stepparent. Of course, there are limitations.
The biggest one for either situation is the absent parent must give up his or her parental rights. So, if you are married to the child's mother, then the father must give up his rights. In addition, you must file a petition for adoption, be over 18 years old and have lived with the child for at least six months. If the child is over the age of 12, he or she must also provide written consent to the adoption. You will also need to complete a criminal history check and consent to a social study.
When it comes to you being a former stepparent, you have a few more hoops to jump through. You must have consent from the parent whose rights have not been terminated or have been the guardian of the child for at least a year. If you are currently married, your spouse must also be part of the petition for adoption. The child also must be at least two years old. For more information about adoption, please visit our website.