It’s hard work being a parent, and it can be a ton of legal work to become an adopted parent. In Texas, as with any state, there are specific rules and protocols that must be followed in order for a stepparent to adopt his or her step-children. Here’s a quick guide to five things you need to know about stepparent adoption in Texas.

1. Do you qualify?

Before anything else, you first need to know whether you’re eligible to adopt your step-children. Do you meet the following criteria?

  • You must be married to the parent who is the primary custodian of the child or children.
  • You must reside with the child or children 6 months or more before filing for adoption. If you haven’t, you may ask the court to waive this requirement.
  • The other parent must be absent, deceased, unknown, or indifferent. Basically, it’s really helpful if the child or children don’t have a current relationship with the other parent. If they do, you must first legally dissolve their relationship. We can help you file an Original Petition to Terminate Parent-Child Relationship and for Adoption in order to file for the termination and adoption at the same time.

2. Be prepared to pay a filing fee.

Whether you’re filing for a parent termination and adoption, or just the adoption, there’s an associated fee. The fee is determined by the Texas county where you filed. Be aware that each county charges different fees.

3. You must go to court.

When you file to adopt your step-children, you and your spouse both file as the petitioners. Both of you and any children aged 12 or older will need to go to court for the adoption hearing.

If there are circumstances that prevent one of the petitioners from attending the hearing, the court may waive the attendance of one of the petitioners. Likewise, if any child 12 or older is unable to attend the hearing, the court may waive the attendance as long as it is “in the best interest” of the child. In this case, the child must submit a letter of consent to be adopted by the petitioner.

4. It’s not guaranteed that your adoption will be approved.

Even if you have followed all the steps, completed all the papers correctly, and appeared before the judge, there’s no guarantee that your adoption will be approved. Any number of circumstances may arise to prevent the adoption from going through. That’s why it’s best to get help from a law firm experienced in family law.

5. Let our stellar legal team help make the process easier.

To ensure that you have the best chance of adopting your step-child or children, get help from an experienced family law attorney. Cheryl Alsandor is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Her experience with adoption makes her and her legal team the ideal Houston-area lawyer for your stepparent adoption case. Let our team answer any questions you may have and help you start the adoption process today. Click here to find out more or give us a call at (713) 661-9783.