How do stepparent adoptions work?

Mens divorce lawyerQuestion:

It was recently determined that I am the biological father of a child I have never met. At that time, I was also ordered to pay back child support from the time the child was born until now.

The child’s stepfather wants to adopt him, which is fine with me since I do not know the child. So how can the child’s stepfather adopt him, and how can I get the child support obligation removed?

I think it’s unfair that I am ordered to pay years worth of back child support for a child that I never knew.


A child support order terminates in Texas, the state I practice in, if the child is adopted after the support order is rendered. However, in order for adoption to occur, there must first be a termination of the parent-child relationship between you and your child.

Parental rights may be relinquished by a witnessed affidavit that is verified before a notary public. Tex. Fam. Code § 161.103.  The affidavit lays the foundation for a consent decree terminating the parent-child relationship.

After executing an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights, such is revocable by the parent who signed it only if the revocation is made before the eleventh day after execution. Tex. Fam. Code § 161.1035.

Following the execution of the affidavit the parent executing such must next prepare a report of his or her medical history and the medical history of his or her ancestors. Tex. Fam. Code § 161.103.

In order for the adoption to proceed both the step-parent and mother must consent to the adoption taking place. The court will order a social study which analyzes the adoptive parent and his or her home. Tex. Fam. Code § 107.051(g).

Generally a pre-adoptive social study and a post-placement social study are completed before the adoption is final, however, when the adoption is by a step-parent the social studies may be combined. Additionally, the step-parent wanting to adopt the child must furnish his or her criminal record information to the court. Tex. Fam. Code § 161.085.

If the child to be adopted is twelve years of age or older, such child must also consent to the adoption by testifying in court or evidencing such in writing. However, this requirement can be waived if it is in the best interest of the child to do so. Tex. Fam. Code § 161.010(c).

Upon completion, a final decree of adoption is rendered by the court and the adoption becomes final. An order of adoption establishes the parent-child relationship between the adoptive parent and the child for all purposes. Tex. Fam. Code § 162.017.

The decree will divest the parent that terminated his or her rights and the child of all legal rights, privileges, duties and powers with respect to each other.

Such termination will also terminate the former parent’s obligation to support the child, including all future child support payments. However, the termination does not end a former parent’s obligation for child support arrearages that occurred prior to the termination.

As such, in your situation if the retroactive child support payments are not already paid off you will still be responsible for such payments, but you will not owe any future child support.

Thank you for submitting your question for more information on this topic or to obtain more specific answers to your situation please contact a Texas attorney. Please be advised that my answering of this question does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located in 18 states.


Jennifer Hankinson is a Staff Attorney in the Dallas, Texas office of Cordell & Cordell, where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Hankinson is licensed in the state of Texas. Ms. Hankinson received her bachelors’ degrees in both Finance and Political Science from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. She later received her Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington, where she graduated Cum Laude.  

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One comment on “How do stepparent adoptions work?

    I am in Alabama do u Still pay child support if your parental right for take from you if you do not own back rear

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