In Texas, if a stepparent wants custodial rights to a child, including the right to make decisions concerning the child’s education, medical treatment, etc., the stepparent must formally adopt the child. This process can be time-consuming and expensive, but the end result is well worth it.
Several steps need to be followed before an adoption will be granted. First, if there is another birth parent living, his or her parental rights must be terminated before an adoption may be granted. This may be done with the consent of the birth parent, or by a court petition to terminate the rights of that parent.
The second step is to get consent from the child, if the child is age 12 or older. The petition for Adoption must be filed jointly by the stepparent and his or her spouse (the parent of the child.) A social study of the home is done, and a court hearing must be held in order for the adoption to be final. The court must find that the adoption is in the best interest of the child. Once the adoption is granted, the child’s name and birth certificate can be changed to reflect the new family status.
For more information, consult a Family Law attorney in your county.
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