Sometimes you find your soul mate and sometimes you are lucky enough to find your perfect family. When you marry your significant other, you become a part of their life and sometimes that means wanting to raise their children as your own. According to Texas state law, the procedure for adopting a stepchild is similar to any other adoption and in certain cases, depending on the nature of the case, even simpler.
The process of adopting a stepchild is comparatively easier if both birth parents agree to the adoption. If the parent without the custody of the child consents to the adoption, it would mean that they must give up all of their parental rights and responsibilities. However, if the child being adopted is 12 years or older, consent of the child must also be obtained. In a situation where the non-custodial parent does not agree to the adoption, the court might terminate the parental rights of the birth parent and grant the adoption to the stepparent anyway. In almost all cases, if it could be proven that the child was abandoned by the non-custodial birth parent, that is the parent made no contact with the child and neither paid child support, the parental rights of the birth parent may be terminated. Alternatively, if the other parent is proven to be unfit to perform parental duties, consent of the non-custodial birth parent would not be required.
The legal procedure to file for adoption, in either case, will follow a similar structure to any other adoption including filing a petition for adoption and in some cases, a social study of the new family unit. However, in such a situation, termination of parental rights of the non-custodial birth parent must be obtained before the adoption can be completed. Given the sensitive nature of the whole process, you should consider hiring a specialist attorney to help you with the adoption process.