by Chuck Rowland

The most common adoption handled by Bailey & Galyen is the stepparent adoption. Such an adoption happens when a child’s parent marries someone besides the child’s other parent and that new spouse wants to become the child’s legal parent. The most common stepparent adoption is when the mother has primary conservatorship of the child and the father doesn’t pay his child support or have a significant relationship with the child. The mother marries and her husband wants to legally step into the father’s shoes. The husband then becomes the child’s new legal father.

The stepparent adoption, as with all other types of adoption, requires the legal termination of parental rights of at least one of the parents. In the scenario described above, the child’s father can voluntarily relinquish his parental rights by signing a document we prepare, or you can ask the court to terminate his rights involuntarily. An involuntary termination requires proof that the father has engaged in conduct that is harmful to the child as defined by Texas law. In either case, the father’s rights must be terminated before the adoption can be approved by the court.

In addition to the termination of a parent’s parental rights, several other steps must be completed in the process before the adoption can be granted. The prospective adoptive parent(s) must submit to a social study investigation by a qualified social worker and a criminal background check. If the adoption is not a stepparent adoption, several other requirements must be met, including the appointment by the judge of an amicus attorney to represent the best interests of the child.

As you can see, adoption can be a complex, time-consuming legal process. The prospective adoptive parents must be dedicated to the best interests of the child and committed to providing the necessary resources to ensure a smooth and successful conclusion to the process. The family law attorneys at Bailey & Galyen have extensive experience in all aspects of Texas adoption, and we stand ready to assist you.

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