A stepparent plays an important role in their stepchild’s life. As a stepparent, even if you provide the same love, care, and financial support for your stepchild as their own biological parent, you still lack the same rights. Only by adopting your stepchild can you exercise the same rights as the child’s legal parents.
Become Your Stepchild’s Legal Parent
Many stepparents seek adoption as a means of formally establishing their connection and their relationship with their stepchildren. Adoption can solidify that parent-child relationship while also allowing you to make important decisions on the child’s behalf.
To successfully adopt your stepchild in Texas, you will have to follow a few steps:
- Terminate the other parent’s rights: Before you can adopt a stepchild, you’ll have to terminate the other parent’s parental rights. If the parent refuses to voluntarily relinquish their parental rights, you will have to take the matter to court.
- Complete a home study: Even if your stepchild has been living with you for a while, you’ll still have to undergo a home study.
- Obtain consent from the child: If the child is 12 or older, he or she will have to consent to the adoption by signing a document.
- Attend a court hearing: In some cases, the parental rights termination and the adoption can be completed within the same hearing. Either way, you will have to attend a court hearing to officialize the adoption.
The Benefits of Stepchild Adoption
Now that you know how to adopt a stepchild, you might be wondering why you should adopt your stepchild. Stepchild adoption offers several benefits to both adoptive stepparents, biological/legal parents, and children alike.
By adopting your stepchild, you will:
- Be able to exercise your parental rights: Having parental rights can simplify daily tasks and activities for families. Now you’ll be able to take your stepchild to the doctor, obtain their school records, and do everything else that is reserved for legal parents.
- Protect yourself from custody challenges from other biological family members: Once you adopt your stepchild, you will have the same parental rights as a biological parent. This means other biological family members – such as grandparents and aunts or uncles – will not be able to challenge your custody if something happens to your spouse.
- Pass on financial benefits to your stepchild: Once you have adopted your stepchild, you’ll be more easily able to pass on inheritance to them, provide insurance benefits, and more.
- Strengthen your family bond: Even if you and your stepchild already have a close relationship, becoming their legal parent through adoption can solidify that bond moving forward.
Get Started with Camille Borg Law PLLC
Are you ready to start the stepparent adoption process? Camille Borg Law PLLC is here to help. Our family lawyer has helped numerous stepparents formally and legally establish parenthood and grow their relationships with their stepchildren.
Learn more about how we can help by calling (469) 646-7763 today.