Legally adopting a child requires petitioning a court for the adoption. In general, the stepparent and the spouse request the termination of the other biological parent's rights along with an order of adoption. In addition to other considerations, the court must consider whether the adoption would be in the “best interest of the child,” a legal standard used in court proceedings that involve children. TexasLawHelp.org publishes an article on adoption law that answers common questions about adoptions in Texas, including stepparent adoptions.
There are no standard, fill-in-the-blank forms for a stepparent adoption. The state does not publish any templates, drafting guides, or examples on how to proceed. Each adoption is unique and involves the termination of a biological parent's rights, so it is difficult to create a simple form to use in the courts. One option is to hire an attorney who can guide you through the proceedings and file paperwork on your behalf. If you instead wish to proceed on your own, without an attorney, our library offers access to resources that might help you as you prepare.
Texas Family Law Practice and Procedure, a set of e-books available through our library, contains information and drafting guides that help you create legal forms related to adoption. Volume 4, Task T3, “Initiating Child Adoption Proceedings,” goes over adoption proceedings, including those where a stepparent will be adopting the child. Section T3.103, “Original Petition for Termination and Adoption by Stepparent,” contains an example form. If you are a Texas resident and wish to access these e-books, you can create a library account online! Your local county law library may also have these books or similar resources. In Austin, our library also has print resources that may help.
To read the laws that set out the adoption process in Texas, see chapter 162 of the Family Code. The library also publishes several research guides with information and resources on various family law topics, including a child custody and support research guide and a termination of parental rights research guide.
Since we are librarians and not attorneys, we cannot determine what forms would be appropriate to file for your situation. An attorney can recommend the best course of action for you to take, so please see our Find an Attorney page for resources on locating an attorney.