Key Factors to Consider in Stepparent Adoptions
Adoption can be complicated under Texas law, but there is a more streamlined process to make stepparent adoption easier. Stepparent adoption occurs when a new spouse adopts his or her husband's or wives' biological child. A Dallas family attorney can provide help with this process to ensure that the adoption goes as quickly and smoothly as possible so new family bonds can be formed.
While stepparent adoption is common and the adoption process is made easier than in other types of adoption, stepparent adoption is still not an option for everyone – and there are major legal implications associated with this process. Before you decide that you should adopt as a stepparent, or before you decide to allow your new spouse to adopt your child, you should make certain that you fully understand exactly what the implications of stepparent adoption are.
Key Factors You Should Consider Before Stepparent Adoption
One of the first key things to know about stepparent adoption is that the biological parent would need to give up his or her legal rights in order for a stepparent to be able to adopt a child.
For example, if a husband wants to adopt his new wife's child, the child's father would first need to give up his parental rights so the adoption could go through. The biological father would no longer have any obligation or claim to the child, which is a permanent and life-altering decision. Not all biological parents are willing to sign away their parental rights so a stepparent can adopt a child.
If stepparent adoption is possible because the other biological parent does not object to giving up his or her rights – or because there is no other biological parent in the picture – it is important to understand that stepparent adoption creates a permanent relationship that exists independently of the parents' marriage.
If the couple decides to divorce in the future, the stepparent will have a right to pursue a claim for custody or visitation, just as any other parent would have such a right. In addition, the stepparent would have a legal obligation to pay child support for the step child after the adoption has gone through just as any biological parent would. The biological parent cannot undo the adoption in divorce because he or she doesn't want to share custody, and the adoptive parent cannot undo the adoption in divorce because he or she does not want to end up getting stuck paying child support.
Because the decision to have a stepparent adopt a child is a permanent one that forever alters the rights and obligations of the parents who are involved, as well as of the child, it's important to think carefully about whether this is the right choice for your family.
A Dallas family attorney can explain the process of stepparent adoption and the lasting implications of adoption. If you decide to go forward, an attorney can guide you through each of the steps in the process of stepparent adoption that are required to make a relationship between a stepparent and a child a permanent and lasting relationship.