Many children recognize a stepfather or stepmother as their true psychological parent. This can occur when a biological parent has not maintained contact with the child or has never had a meaningful relationship with the child. In these cases, the child’s sense of belonging and the family bond can be enhanced through a step-parent adoption. At Schreier & Housewirth, our adoption attorneys have help to build families through step-parent adoption in Fort Worth, Dallas and in counties across north Texas such as Tarrant, Parker, Hood, and Erath counties.
Building Families through Stepparent Adoption
A step-parent adoption is a two step process.
First, the rights of the biological mother or father of the child must be terminated. In some cases this occurs via the signing of an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights by the biological parent. In other cases, an involuntary termination may occur if the biological parent has failed to support the child for at least one year. In other cases, the biological parent cannot be located and rights are terminated by default.
Next, the step-parent must complete the requisites to adoption. For instance, he must have lived with the child for at least six months, and have completed an adoptive home study and criminal background history report. Finally, and most obviously, the child’s parent who is the spouse of the stepparent must consent to the adoption.
Effect of Stepparent Adoption
Once the adoption is complete, the stepparent has all of the legal rights, duties and responsibilities of a parent. These rights will continue even if the marriage of the parents results in divorce. Also, the adoption allows the child to inherit from the “new” parent and it will allow that parent to enroll the child on a group health insurance plan through an employer.
Contact Us at Schreier & Housewirth to discuss your family situation and whether you are ready to adopt your stepchild. We’ll be here to put you at ease and lead you through the process.