Adopting a Stepchild in Texas


Brown Pruitt is frequently contacted by Texas families wishing to complete a step parent adoption. Families often ask: How can my new husband adopt my child?  Or, what is required to adopt a spouse’s child?

Step parent adoption is a great way for a family that is already thriving together to formally recognize the role that the step parent plays in the child’s life. If you are helping to raise your spouse’s child(ren) and would like to take steps to adopt your step child, Brown Pruitt can help.

Benefits of Step Parent Adoption in Texas

Step parents often play a vital role in the lives of their spouse’s children. They help to provide food, shelter, and love to the child. They attend soccer games and dance recitals. They take on all the typical responsibilities of a parent, but without the legal recognition.

But there are more benefits to adopting a stepchild than just the legal ones. Many step parents adopt their spouse’s children purely for the emotional benefits.

Below are just a few of the many benefits to adopting a step child in Texas:

  • Legal Recognition: When you adopt a stepchild, you become the child’s legal guardian and share all parental rights and responsibilities with your spouse. Becoming the child’s legal mother or father often simplifies everyday tasks, such as taking them to the doctor or even picking them up from school. Obtaining these parental rights will also protect you from custody challenges from biological family members, in the event that something was to happen to your spouse.
  • Financial Benefits: A child who is adopted by his or her step parents may also receive financial benefits, such as inheritance and insurance.
  • Family Bond: Perhaps the most significant benefits to come from step parent adoption are the emotional ones. For a step parent who has been a primary caregiver throughout a child’s life, becoming his or her legal parent can feel like receiving a badge of honor. Step parent adoptions formalize the deep, longstanding bonds that step parents share with their step children. They provide a sense of security and permanence to the entire family. For the child, they are the ultimate act of love.

How to Adopt a Stepchild in Texas

For those wishing to pursue a step parent adoption, Brown Pruitt can help you legally adopt your step child through the following steps:

In order to complete a step parent adoption in Texas, the parent must first have their parental rights terminated. This will typically be done through what is called an Affidavit of Relinquishment.

Brown Pruitt will draft and assist you with obtaining the paperwork necessary to terminate the parental rights of the child’s biological parent.

Even when the child has been living with the step parent for some time, it is still necessary for the adopting parent to complete a home study. This proves to the courts that he or she is ready to legally adopt the child, understands his or her obligation to the child, and is physically, emotionally and financially prepared to raise the child.

 

The home study will generally cost anywhere from $500 – $1,500 to complete and may be completed by a licensed home study agency.

In Texas, any child age 12 or older must legally consent to the adoption. Consent is given by having the child sign a simple document that our offices will provide.
Generally, Brown Pruitt is able to complete the parental rights termination and adoption within the same hearing. We invite the adopting family and friends to attend the hearing to celebrate the adoption, if appropriate.

Step parent adoption is a great way to establish parental rights and provide your family with a strong sense of permanence. Having an experienced law firm like Brown Pruitt by your side will ensure that the adoption is completed soundly and that all Texas laws have been followed along the way.

If you are interested in pursuing a stepparent adoption, please contact Brown Pruitt today to get started or to receive free information.