If you’re interested in complete a step-parent adoption, you should contact an adoption attorney in Abilene. They can help walk you through the process. They understand the laws in Texas and know how to process works. Having an attorney can make the difference between having your adoption approved and having it denied.
If you remarry and your new spouse wants to adopt your children, it may not be as easy as you think. A lot of people think that all you have to do is get the other parent to sign over their rights. It doesn’t work that way. The family courts in Abilene, Texas have a process that needs to be followed.
If the other parent is deceased or is willing to terminate their parental rights, it does make the process easier. It’s very hard to get the court to terminate someone’s parental rights. The court tries to keep families together – not tear them apart. Just because you and your new spouse think the other parent isn’t a good parent, that doesn’t mean the judge will agree.
Termination of Parental Rights
The first step in the step-parent adoption process is terminating the other parent’s rights. In an ideal world, they would consent to this and sign away their rights. If this is the case, you can proceed with your petition for adoption.
Most cases don’t work out this way. Usually, the other parent will challenge the adoption. In cases like, this you’ll need a court order to terminate their parental rights. This is not easy to do. Judges don’t like to strip people of their parental rights. It is an irrevocable decision. That’s why the courts like to be absolutely sure before they make a decision like this.
Some of the bases for terminating a parent’s rights include the following:
- Abandonment – The other parent hasn’t been in your child’s life for several years. This means there has been no contact in person, in writing, or by telephone.
- Prison – If the other parent is expected to be in prison for a long time, the court may consider terminating their parental rights. It depends on how long they’ll be in jail.
- Danger – If the other parent poses a danger to your children, the judge may terminate their rights. Keep in mind, your Abilene adoption attorney will have to submit strong evidence to show that they are dangerous.
- Abuse – If the other parent has abused your children – and this is proven – it is a basis for terminating parental rights. Again, the evidence will have to be clear and convincing.
- Death – If the other parent is dead, the judge will sign an order terminating parental rights.
- Lack of Support – In Texas, if a parent has failed to pay child support for a long period of time, the court will consider terminating their rights. However, the court will usually give the other parent a final opportunity to catch up on their child support.
- Lack of Acknowledgment – If the other parent has refused to acknowledge your child as their own, you can have their rights terminated. However, the judge will want substantial proof that they have denied being the child’s parent.
Once parental rights have been terminated, you will move forward with your petition for adoption.
File Petition for Adoption
Once you have had the other parent’s rights terminated, you can proceed with your adoption petition. When the court receives your petition, they’ll want you to complete a social study. This study will examine the following things:
- Your employment and financial history
- Home study to make sure your house is safe, clean and secure
- Interviews with your spouse and children
- Screen the adults and older children for criminal backgrounds
- Check to see if there is a history of abuse or other issues with child protective services
The social study will be conducted by a third party. They will submit their findings to the court. Once this is completed, the final step in the adoption will take place.
Attorney ad Litum
After the home study is completed, an unbiased attorney will be appointed to your case. They will repeat much of the work done by the person who did the social study. Once they complete their investigation, they will determine if the adoption is the best thing for the children.
The attorney ad litum will make a recommendation to the judge. If the judge accepts their recommendation, they will approve your adoption. You will attend a final hearing at which your step-parent adoption will be complete.
Contact an adoption attorney in Abilene, Texas at Eddington & Worley today. They will stand by your side throughout the entire adoption process.