Terry L. Hart, Attorney at Law
713-581-1773

How difficult is it to adopt your spouse's biological children?

Texas families come in all shapes and sizes, and there is no one right way to establish a home. Sometimes, the bond that stepparents have with their stepchildren is significant enough to where the stepparent wants to formalize his or her relationship through adoption. This can be a wonderful way to grow your family and legally establish your role in the life of your kids.

Even if you and your spouse are ready to move forward with this process, it can be more complicated than simply making the decision to do it. Stepparent adoption can be tricky, especially in cases where the other parent does not consent or is not around. Because of the sensitive and potentially complex nature of these types of cases, you would be wise to work with an experienced attorney from the very beginning.

The rights of biological parents

Biological parents have certain rights. In order to complete the adoption of your stepchildren, this means that the non-custodial parent will have to relinquish his or her rights. As you can imagine, not all parents are willing to do this, even if it's what the kids want. It is a huge step to give up parental rights, and this can be a point of contention. 

However, there are times when a family court will move forward with terminating the other parent's rights if there is clear reason to do so. This can happen in cases involving abuse, drug use and other problems. If the other parent is not around to relinquish rights or dispute your efforts to adopt his or her children, you can petition the court to terminate. 

Complex family situations

The termination of parental rights can also be difficult when there are other external factors. This may include other family members disputing the adoption or difficulty proving that the other parent is unfit or abandoned the child. Stepparent adoption can be particularly complicated for same-sex couples, even after the legalization of same-sex marriage across the country. 

Your family law goals

Whatever your goals may be for your family, you do not have to pursue them alone. With the guidance of an experienced legal ally, you can navigate the adoption process or seek other avenues that may be in the best interests of your family. If you are not sure of what you can do or where you should begin, you may want to start by simply seeking an assessment of your case and explanation of the legal options available to you.

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Terry L. Hart, Attorney at Law
4265 San Felipe Street
Suite 1100
Houston, TX 77027

Toll Free: 877-576-7390
Phone: 713-581-1773
Fax: 713-968-9817
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