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What Happens When Adoptive Parents Get Divorced in Texas?

Posted on in Child Custody

TX divorce lawyerFor parents who share children under the age of 18, child custody decisions are central to the divorce process. In general, this is true for both biological and adopted children, though adoptive parents may be especially concerned about protecting their parental rights if they are uncertain how Texas law applies to these cases. If you need to address the custody of your adopted child, an experienced family law attorney can help you understand your rights and options under the law.

Texas Adoption Laws

To understand how your child custody case may be handled, it is first important to understand a few key facts about adoption in Texas. First of all, adopting a child gives the adoptive parent all of the same legal rights and responsibilities as a biological parent. Secondly, married couples are required to petition for adoption together. This means that if you adopted a child together during your marriage, you and your spouse have the same rights and responsibilities as each other. This gives both of you the standing to pursue custody during your divorce.

In order for an adoption to be approved in Texas, it is also necessary to terminate the parental rights of any biological parent who still has them. You may be concerned that a biological parent will attempt to intervene in your custody case during your divorce, but under Texas law, they do not have the legal standing to do so once their rights have been terminated.

Custody and Stepparent or Second Parent Adoptions

Child custody cases can be a little more complicated when one spouse was already the child’s legal parent before the marriage. For example, a person may have adopted a child while they were single, thereby becoming the child’s sole legal parent. If the adoptive parent then marries, their spouse becomes a stepparent but does not automatically become the child’s legal parent. In this case, the stepparent may not have standing to pursue custody if the marriage later ends.

However, it is possible for a stepparent, or a second parent in a same-sex partnership, to adopt their spouse’s child. If you have become your child’s legal parent through a stepparent or second-parent adoption, you have the same rights as your spouse, whether they are the child’s adoptive or biological parent.

It is important to note that in any child custody decision, the child’s best interests take precedent. Even though both parents may have standing to pursue custody, this does not necessarily mean that both will be treated equally in the child custody order. Factors like the child’s needs, routines, and relationships with both parents can influence the specific details of your arrangement.

Contact an Austin Child Custody Lawyer

If you have questions or concerns about how your divorce will affect your relationship with your adopted child, the Austin, TX family law attorneys at Powers and Kerr, PLLC can help. We will take the time to understand your priorities and help you achieve an outcome that protects your child’s best interests. To set up a confidential consultation, call us today at 512-610-6199.

 

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.162.htm

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.153.htm

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