Legal Question in Family Law in Texas

How do you adopt your spouses child when the father can not be found?

Asked on 3/23/12, 8:59 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Jeffrey Brashear The Brashear Law Firm, PLLC

Based on what you have written, in Texas there is a process for terminating the biological parent's rights and proceeding forward with a step-parent adoption. Within this process there are steps and required proceedures which must be followed and completed before the court will approve such actions. You should consider consulting with a local law firm to assist you to ensure that your rights and interests are fully protected. Should you desire, you may contact us at 281-994-4034 or review the firm's website at for more information. There are a few questions which you may want to begin thinking about: What is the last known address for the biological parent who's rights you are wanting to terminate? When is the last time the biological parent had any contact with the child? How old is the child? What is the criminal background of the step-parent? These are just some of the items which the court may look at in determining what is in the best interest of the child.

The above response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an on-going duty to respond to questions. Additionally, the response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than an educated opinion. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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Answered on 3/23/12, 11:41 am
M. Elizabeth Foley The Law Office of M. Elizabeth Foley

It's not an easy (or inexpensive, or short) process, but it can be done. First, the court will have to consider whether to terminate the biological father's parental interests, and if he's nowhere to be found, the court will appoint him an attorney, who will first check to make sure that he really can't be located and, if not, attempt to represent his interests without him being there.Obviously, that's pretty hard to do without a client there to explain why it was he took off, whether he wants a relationship with his child, and if so, what plans he might have to improve or form that relationship, but that's the way the laws are set up on this, to at least theoretically protect his rights. The judge would then consider after having heard from everyone whether termination is in the child's best interests, and would then proceed to consider the adoption. That's a little easier since you're a stepparent, but still there will be things like a study of the home environment and how the child's doing living with you now, the child's feeling on the subject if that's age-appropriate, your ability to support and provide for the child, the stability of your marriage, any criminal background you might have, etc. Hopefully, it all leads to a happy ending eventually, but it's difficult at times to see the light at the end of the tunnel, because the procedural end of these can be a real pain to contend with sometimes, even when it seems really obvious that adoption is the child's best option. Good luck.

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Answered on 3/23/12, 12:15 pm

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