When you got married to your wife, she already had a small child. That little girl is the one you’ve raised since she was young, even though her own father was out of the picture.

Today, she’s getting older, and you’d like to make sure that you have the parental rights that your spouse has, too. You would like to adopt her, so that she knows that you will always be there for her.

Stepparent adoptions: What you need to know

A stepparent adoption may be possible, but you should remember that it may require your stepchild’s biological father to give up his parental rights. In Texas, you will need to show that the biological parent gave up their rights or lost them if you plan to adopt.

If the other biological parent still has parental rights, you can ask a court to strip them in some cases. For example, if the other parent has not been present for several years or if they are willing to give up their parental rights, then you may still be able to move forward with the adoption.

There may be a time limit in place that you have to meet as well. When you discuss stepparent adoption with your attorney, make sure you discuss how long you and your stepchild’s mother have been in a relationship and married. If you haven’t been in the child’s life long, then the likelihood of an adoption approval may be lower.

Every case is different, just like every family is different. If you would like to consider a stepparent adoption, you should look carefully into your legal rights and responsibilities.