Legally Establishing an Existing Parent-Child Relationship
As a stepparent, you may be bonding or have already bonded with your stepchild. Stepparent adoption simply legally establishes your already-existing parent-child relationship. Uniting a family through stepparent adoption can be a joyous occasion. If you and your family are interested in stepparent adoption, certain steps must be taken to properly and, most importantly, legally adopt a child. For experienced representation from a Houston stepparent adoption attorney, please contact Kimberly D. Levi. Kimberly Levi’s goal is to ensure that the adoption process goes smoothly and remains a positive experience for all involved.
The requirements for stepparent adoption include:
Termination of the parental rights of the biological parent
The stepparent and child must have lived in the same residence for at least six months
Qualified social worker and amicus attorney approval
Why Stepparent Adoption?
Other than legally formalizing the emotional bond a stepparent has already formed with a stepchild, there are additional reasons for seeking adoption. By adopting a stepchild, the stepparent assumes all the same financial responsibilities that any other parent has. In some cases, a stepparent may already be financially supporting a stepchild. If you wish for your stepchild to inherit from you in the same manner as biologically born children can, adoption of your stepchild must occur.
Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights
In any stepparent adoption, the parental rights of the biological parent must be terminated. This necessary step is easier when the termination is voluntary. The biological parent who agrees with or does not oppose the stepparent adoption may sign a voluntary relinquishment of his or her parental rights to the child and then the stepparent adoption can proceed.
Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
When termination is involuntary and the biological parent refuses to terminate his or her parental rights, Kimberly D. Levi can file a petition seeking termination of parental rights on your behalf. Grounds for seeking involuntary termination of parental rights include:
Drug or alcohol abuse
Child abuse/child endangerment
Failure to pay child support
The foregoing list is not exhaustive and there are many additional important facets to the adoption process, whether the process involves the agreement of the biological parent or not.
Please contact family law adoption attorney Kimberly D. Levi in Houston, Texas to schedule an “information overload” adoption consultation session with Ms. Levi. Be ready to receive a huge amount of information that will educate you on how to successfully achieve your forever family!