If you are a Texas resident who is interested in adopting your stepchild or who has a spouse that would like to adopt your biological child, you will want to carefully assess your options and the situation. Certainly the desire for a stepparent to adopt a stepchild can be one filled with great emotion as it is generally seen as a very loving and warm act. However, it is also a legal action and should be regarded as such.
Many people may be unaware of this but the Child Welfare Information Gateway actually indicates that adoptions of children by stepparents actually account for the majority of adoptions that occur. Before going too far in the process, stepparents and biological parents should carefully assess the long-term legalities of the decision. A new birth certificate may be obtained, for example.
A child's biological parent that must cede parental rights in the process of a stepparent adoption also becomes freed of any parental responsibilities for the child. So, if you or your spouse receive child support from that other biological parent, you should be prepared to give that up if you proceed with the stepparent adoption. Your child's ability to be the legal beneficiary of the other parent's estate based upon the child status may also be affected.
Both biological parents will need to approve of the adoption. The child may also need to provide consent depending upon his or her age. If you would like to learn more about stepparent adoptions, please feel free to visit the blended family page of our Texas family law website.