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Roger
Roger, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 26155
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by West
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Does the state of Texas recognize a man as some sort of "father"

Customer Question

Does the state of Texas recognize a man as some sort of "father" in legal terms if they have raised that child since 18 months (now 15)?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Roger replied 1 year ago.

Kirk Adams : Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Family Law litigation attorney. Thanks for your question. I'll be glad to assist you today.
Kirk Adams : If the father is not the biological or adoptive parent, then he would not be legally considered as the father under the law.
Kirk Adams : If the father is married to the mother, he would be a step-parent, but really doesn't grant any legal rights to the child or obligations to care for the child under the law.
Kirk Adams : The father certainly could try to adopt the child, but if a divorce is on the horizon, it would likely not be granted because the mother would object
Kirk Adams : The concern regarding the children being split up is certainly a legitimate issue.
Kirk Adams : If the mother is granted primary custody of your child, then they would be together - - and that may be how the judge resolves the issue.
Kirk Adams : However, if you are granted primary custody of your child, then the court could order a visitation schedule to keep the sisters together.
Kirk Adams : However, to specifically answer your question, the step father would not gain any legal rights due to the duration of time he served in that capacity.
Kirk Adams : Instead, the only way he could gain rights would be if he were to adopt.
Kirk Adams : I hope this answers your question, but if you need something further, please don't hesitate to ask.
Customer:

Thanks for the info. The mother doesn't want custody, just visitation, and is fully willing for me to adopt but I do understand how the divorce messes that up. If the mother agrees to the adoption and the 15 year old child wants to live with me, would a court still ignore all of that because of the divorce?

Kirk Adams : Hi -
Kirk Adams : if the mother agrees, then you should be able to adopt the child. The judge isn't likely to refuse the request because of the divorce if the biological parents agree/ don't object.
Kirk Adams : Even if the judge denied the adoption, he/she could still establish a visitation order that would allow everyone to stay close.
Customer:

Hi, I just wanted to double check. From a previous answer I was given the TX Code about adoption and in one part it says:

Customer:

A child can be adopted if: the child is at least two years old, the parent-child relationship has been terminated with respect to one parent, the person seeking the adoption has been a managing conservator or has had actual care, possession, and control of the child for a period of six months preceding the adoption or is the child's former stepparent, and the nonterminated parent consents to the adoption;

Customer:

but then later on it says: If the joint petitioners divorce, the court shall abate the suit for adoption. The court shall dismiss the petition unless the petition is amended to request adoption by one of the original petitioners.

Customer:

I'm confused about that. Adoption is very expensive so I want to be sure I understand before going forward. Thanks.

Kirk Adams : If the petition for adoption is joint (you and your wife), it would be stopped if BOTH parents are seeking to adopt.
Kirk Adams : This would be relevant if neither parent was the biological parent and the adoption was for a child unrelated to either spouse.
Kirk Adams : In your case, if the biological parents consent/dont object, then you could proceed with your petition, then you should be ok. Even the statute quoted above says that the adoption can proceed after divorce IF one of the original parties asks to proceed.
Customer:

Great, thank you!

Roger, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 26155
Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by West
Roger and 8 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Also, I was told that during the adoption process we would have to pay for an ad litem for our daughter as well as social services doing some checking on us. Does this still apply is one of the parents is biological?

Expert:  Roger replied 1 year ago.
Yes, it's likely that the court would still appoint a guardian ad litem and have social services investigate as that's the normal process.
Roger, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 26155
Experience: BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by West
Roger and 8 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

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