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Adopting girlfriend's son

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#1 jmg1977



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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:40 AM

We live in Texas and my girlfriend adopted her son internationally and we are wanting me to adopt his as well, in the US. Her and I are not married, but I am the only father he has known, but since we are not married would I still follow the process as a "step parent" adoption? I am looking to do this on my own, without an attorney. We are not going to be changing his name in this process if that makes a difference.

Thanks in advance.

#2 pg1067


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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:49 AM

The chances of a court allowing a non-spouse to adopt are phenomenally slim (and, perhaphs, non-existent). If you're willing to take on the permanent commitment of becoming a parent to this child, you should have little problem taking on the far less permanent commitment of marrying the mother. Consult with local counsel, though. Even in the best of circumstances, adoptions are not particularly good do-it-yourself projects.

#3 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:13 AM

To learn more about about this subject matter, you may want to visit the Family Law Center and read Adoption as a good resource. I also suggest you consult with a local Texas Adoption Lawyer for further clarification. Many lawyers do offer a free consultation.

Best of luck.

#4 AttorneyMike


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Posted 09 February 2013 - 02:09 PM

Actually, the Texas Family Code does not require that the adoptive parent(s) be married. It provides that if they are in fact married, they must jointly petition for adoption of the child. However, I've never really understood this provision, because if one spouse truly wanted to adopt and the other spouse did not, they could simply divorce, one spouse then adopts the child as a single parent and then they could remarry.

To answer your question, you can adopt your girlfriend's child without getting married, so long as you meet all other criteria. The process is called “Second Parent Adoption” and has been uniquely utilized in a multitude of states by the LGBT Communities to establish and protect their families. Not many attorneys here in Texas are even familiar with the notion of Second Parent Adoption since the Texas Family Code does not address the issue; and I’d gather to say that only a handful of us actually practice the procedure regularly.

California, Delaware, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Colorado, and Vermont all authorize second-parent adoptions by statute or precedent case law. However, Texas is one of ten states where the Second Parent Adoption Process is “Openly Recognized, Not Formalized” according to Leslie M. Fenton and Ann Fenton’s article The Changing Landscape of Second-Parent Adoptions; published October 25, 2011 online for the American Bar Association, Children’s Rights Litigation Section.

Whether or not you should attempt the procedure without the assistance of an attorney is another issue entirely. The Courts are open to everyone with or without an attorney; but I would not recommend you try this pro se. It is a very unique process and I doubt you will find provisions for it in a “Self-Help" or "Do it yourself step-by-step Guide;” especially since it's not even addressed in the Code. Oral surgery on oneself might render more favorable results. On a few occasions I’ve been contacted by other attorneys that filed an application for a Second Parent Adoption, but couldn’t get it approved by the judge. It was a waste of the client's time and money; and in one case the adoptive applicant was unable to reapply. The Court Judge is given very broad discretion over the adoption approval process. For example, in nearly every instance where the Texas Family Code restricts the procedure, it then authorizes the court to “waive” the restriction if the Court finds waiver would be “in the best interest of the child.”

I suggest you seek out an adoption attorney uniquely skilled and experienced in Second Parent Adoptions in Texas. Good Luck.

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