In a step-parent adoption, the parental rights of the non-custodial parent must be terminated before the stepparent can seek rights. Additionally, there are many legal obligations that must be met before an adoption can go through. Paula Lock Smyth Law Offices, can explain these steps and help you through the process of a stepparent adoption.
Termination of Parental Rights
If the biological parent does not voluntary terminate his or her rights, we can request that the court do so. If and when those rights have been terminated, we assist the stepparent in the adoption proceedings. Some of the requirements of a stepparent adoption are:
- That the child has lived in the same residence with the stepparent for at least six months
- That the adoption is approved by a qualified social worker
In some stepparent adoption cases, a guardian ad litem or amicus attorney may be appointed to represent the interests of the child. This may occur if the court determines that a parent is unable to make decisions in the best interest of the child.
Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
In Texas, the courts realize the importance of parent / child relationships. In order for the courts to approve an involuntary termination of parental rights, there has to be a compelling reason for this action, such as:
- Child abuse
- Non-payment of child support
- Child abandonment
- Drug or alcohol addiction