In most cases, when people contemplate a visit to a family law attorney, they feel a sense of dread or negativity. It is perfectly natural response because many times these attorney visits occur to prepare for a divorce or to talk about child custody and support issues. However, there are some occasions when visiting a family law attorney can make you feel happy. Preparing to adopt a stepchild is one such occasion.
While there are several legal issues you must take care of to complete your adoption, it is not as hard as many people assume it is. It might help to think about it this way. Court officials and even local governments want you to adopt your stepchild if the biological parent will not or cannot parent the child in question. As such, they are eager to help you in your quest to adopt.
Your family law attorney is also eager to help you. To get you pointed in the right direction, the section below contains a few important points to help you know what to expect during the adoption process.
- Consent: Those who must consent may or may not include your spouse, the child’s biological parent and the child if he or she is old enough. Your family law attorney can give you exact details about the consent process in your particular case.
- Background Check and Home Study: In many states, you may have to undergo a criminal background check and/or a home study before your adoption will be approved.
- Court Appearances: You may be required to appear before a Texas family court one or more times in order to adopt your stepchild.
While some Texas adoptions can be completed without attorney representation, it is wise to talk about your case with a lawyer. This can often speed the process along and help you avoid making mistakes that could delay the adoption.
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway, “Stepparent Adoption,” accessed July 14, 2017