Regardless of the type of adoption you’re applying for, you’re going to need the consent of both biological parents. This is true even if you’re looking to complete a step-parent adoption. This is one of the most common types of adoptions done in Austin, Texas. It is done when someone gets remarried and their new spouse wants to adopt their children. It’s common when the other biological parent is absent or has expressed no interest in having a relationship with their child. It is also rather common when the other biological parent is in prison.
If you’re looking to complete any sort of adoption, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced adoption lawyer in Austin. They can walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have. If you miss one step in the adoption process, your entire petition can be dismissed. This means you’ll have to start all over again. Not only can this be expensive, but it’s also very frustrating. The adoption process takes long enough as it is. You don’t want to make it even longer by submitting improperly completed forms or paperwork. An adoption lawyer will make sure this doesn’t happen.
What is the Basic Process for Applying for a Step-Parent Adoption in Texas?
The first thing you need to do is have the parental rights of the other biological parent terminated. This can be done in one of two ways. Either the other parent will consent and sign away their rights. Or, the judge will determine that termination of their parental rights is in the best interests of the child. Keep in mind – this is a permanent decision. Therefore, the judge doesn’t take it lightly. It is very difficult to convince a judge to do this. That’s why it’s always easier if the other parent simply consents to the adoption.
There are times when it’s either impossible to find the other parent, or they refuse to sign away their rights. For example, if they’re in jail, you may have a hard time getting in touch with them. You may not know what jail they’re in. Or, they may get your letter and simply ignore it. When this happens, it’s not possible to just walk into the jail and demand that they surrender their rights. In this kind of situation, you may have to petition the family law judge to terminate the other parent’s rights.
Will the Judge Terminate the Other Parent’s Rights if They’re in Jail or Prison?
Just because someone is in prison doesn’t mean the judge will automatically terminate their parental rights. You still have to prove that this decision is in the best interests of the child. Some considerations the judge will take into account include:
- The other parent is in prison for abusing, neglecting or sexually assaulting the child
- The child hasn’t seen their other parent for a period of at least two or three years
- The other parent has made it clear that they want nothing to do with the child
- They aren’t expected to get out of prison for many years
As mentioned above, because this decision is so permanent, no judge will agree to terminate their rights without serious consideration. They also don’t want the other parent to challenge their decision and cause more trouble for the child.
Schedule an Appointment with an Experienced Adoption Lawyer in Austin, Texas
Before you submit any paperwork to the court for your adoption petition, you should meet with an experienced adoption lawyer in Austin. Even if you’ve done a lot of research on how the adoption process works, it’s a good idea to have a skilled attorney by your side. They are very familiar with the step-parent adoption process. They also know how the family courts work in Austin and have developed good relationships with the judges. You’d be surprised at how much this can help make your adoption go smoothly.
While your initial consultation with a skilled Austin adoption attorney may not be free, it’s worth every penny. This may be the most important decision you ever make. You don’t want a simple mistake to completely derail the process. You also want to do everything possible to make sure your adoption petition is approved. Having a legal professional by your side is the best way to make this happen.
Call our office today and schedule your first appointment. There is simply too much at risk to try to handle the process on your own.