There are many different types of family units these days and while some children may grow up in a single-parent home, others may have stepparents in addition to biological parents.
If you are one of those stepparents, you may want to legally adopt your stepchild for numerous reasons. For example, leaving an inheritance behind is much easier when a legal adoption takes place. If your stepchild does not want you to adopt him or her, however, you may not be able to.
In most cases, children must consent to the adoption
According to TexasLawHelp.org, in order to adopt your stepchild, another biological parent must resign their parental rights. Because your spouse must be on the adoption petition with you, you would be asking the other biological parent to give up his or her rights. For children who have good relationships with their biological parents, this may not be the most desirable course of action.
Children over the age of 11 must consent to the adoption process, but there are exceptions. For example, if the court determines that the adoption would be in the best interest of your stepchild, the courts could push it through without the child’s consent. If the child has a healthy relationship with the other biological parent, however, this is an unlikely course of action.
There are exceptions to the rule
If you have evidence that your stepchild’s relationship with his or her other biological parent is inappropriate or dangerous, the courts may revoke his or her parental rights involuntarily. Examples of such conduct include the following:
- Parental abandonment or lack of support
- Parental endangerment of the child
- Parental engagement of criminal conduct
In these cases, the courts may determine that it is in the best interest of the child to terminate the rights of that parent and allow you to adopt your stepchild.