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Proverbs 22:6

How can a stepparent adopt his or her spouse's child?

Raising a child alone is difficult and one of the reasons that Texas single parents may decide to marry, with the added benefit of providing their children with more security. One of the ways that a newly married Texas resident can give the child of a new spouse security is by adopting that child. Stepparent adoption can be a way to complete the family and share in the duties and obligations owed to the child and ensure the best in their caregiving.

Stepparent adoption rules vary from state to state and so does the time it takes to complete the adoption procedure. The first step to take, regardless of the state in which the couple lives, is to obtain the consent of all relevant parties, which means both the spouse and the other party (the child's other biological parent).

Next, stepparents looking to adopt should look into the specific laws relating to stepparent adoption in their state and contact the court that deals with adoption-either the juvenile court or the family court-for more information. There are also legal forms that need to be completed and submitted, after which a preliminary hearing will take place in which a judge or magistrate is likely to ask all relevant parties questions. Before the adoption is finalized, it is also possible that social workers will be required to come for periodic visits in order to verify that family members are adjusting well to the new situation. Once the adoption is final, a new birth certificate will be issue with the child's new name (if changed) and the stepparent listed as the other parent.

Once the adoption is complete, adjusting to a blended family may take time, but the end rewards of security and joy that is given to the child are priceless. However, to ensure that Texas families can reap the benefits of a stepparent adoption, they should make sure the paperwork is complete and all legal steps are completed. An adoption attorney may be able to guide them through the process.

Source: Children's Bureau, "Stepparent Adoption," accessed March 2, 2015

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