Can you adopt stepchildren?

mens divorce lawyer William BackerQuestion:

My ex-husband is not the biological father but he is the only father my child knows. There is no father listed on the birth certificate.

Is my ex-husband allowed to adopt my son?


I do not practice in the State of Texas. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of Texas. Cordell & Cordell has attorneys who are licensed in Texas who would be willing to discuss the specific facts of your case with you.

Certainly you as the birth mother would have to consent to the adoption. It is possible that the court would not approve the adoption without consent from the biological father.

You should consult with an attorney who is licensed to practice in Texas and discuss the facts of your situation in much greater detail.


William F. Backer is an Associate Attorney in the Arnold, Missouri office of Cordell & Cordell where he practices domestic relations exclusively. Mr. Backer is licensed in the State of Missouri. Mr. Backer received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with emphasis in Accounting, from the University of Missouri – St. Louis. He then went on to receive his Juris Doctor from Saint Louis University School of Law in 1999.

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One comment on “Can you adopt stepchildren?

    Pitfalls of adopting stepchildren
    More needs to be said on the dangers of adopting a spouse’s children. Ignorance of the huge legal and financial burden on the part of the adopting parent is as big of a problem as it is when one enters marriage.

    Adopting a spouse’s pre-existing child is a risky move, often made to try to preserve the marriage. But doing so takes a great deal of personal power from you, and gives the birth parent less incentive to preserve the union.

    Love isn’t regulated by adoptive agencies, so adoption doesn’t mean you love the child any less. Don’t let questions about loving the stepchild enter the adoption discussion. This is manipulation and should serve as a red flag.

    Child Support – first and foremost, if the relationship doesn’t work out, do you want to be on the hook paying child support for a kid someone else made? In the event your relationship falls apart, the prospective adoptor should be concerned with moving forward, finding another relationship, and saving resources for children they may create in the future. Be advised that several states, New York for example, require parents to support their children until the age of 21. Adoption means assuming this responsibility for that length of time. In the event of divorce, this means a financial responsibility you probably don’t need. One can still support and give as much as one wants to a stepchild after a divorce, but it’s strictly voluntary.

    Legal expenses: Any legal or criminal problems the adopted child gets into that require a lawyer will ultimately be paid for by the parents, even if they’re divorced.

    College loans: The income of the parents will be taken into account when applying for student loans, and generally require the parents to co-sign for the bulk of the loan. This is a concern for step-parents who are still married when the stepchild applies for a student loan if the marriage is still intact. From a financial point of view, if the stepparent makes more money than the parent, getting divorced to avoid co-signing a gigantic loan makes sense.

    Changing the child’s last name without formal adoption is a nice compromise that shows the stepparent’s love for the child, while avoiding financial and legal responsibilities that should belong to the birth parents.

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