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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    Default Step-Parent Adoption vs. Changing a Child's Last Name

    My question involves adoption law for the State of: Texas

    Hi! I live in Laredo, Texas. My husband wishes to adopt my daughter. There is no father listed on her birth certificate and he is unknown. She is 9 years old.

    1. I've read there is a 6 month period where the child has to reside with the step-parent. What are the exceptions? We have been together a couple of years and recently married.

    2. She is BEGGING to have his last name. We really would like her to start at her new school in the fall with her new name.

    3. Can any of this be done without an attorney?

    4. What are my options with or without?

    5. If we cannot start the adoption process until we have all "legally" lived at the same address for 6 months, can I just change her name for now? She currently has my maiden name.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    98,846

    Default Re: Step-Parent Adoption or Changing a Child's Last Name

    You're apparently thinking of the Texas Family Court Act, Sec. 162.001(b)(3), "A child residing in this state may 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."

    That six month period does not apply to stepparents.

    Can you manage to get through the stepparent adoption process without a lawyer? It's not easy, you are unlikely to find forms and instructions online, and Texas has a reputation for being a difficult place for people to represent themselves in court. But if you can muddle your way through without a lawyer, you don't need a lawyer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    2,289

    Default Re: Step-Parent Adoption or Changing a Child's Last Name

    How to change a child's name in Texas legally: https://texaslawhelp.org/toolkit/i-w...my-childs-name

    Key - "If the child has two parents or guardians, both must sign the petition." You have to serve the other parent and it sounds like they have to consent. The actual code didn't show up in an initial search but feel free to look for it.

    My step-nephew uses my brother's last name but they haven't legally changed it I don't think. But he uses it at school. His "father" has been out of the picture since he was six months old and has made no efforts to come see him and rarely pays child support. My brother and sister in law started into stepparent adoption but didn't have the money to go too far yet. My brother has raised him since he was two. That's the only dad he knows. I'm pretty sure the other guy has several kids across the country at this point he doesn't take care of. (My sister in law was young and got played). But they don't live in Texas - and they live in our hometown that my brothers and I grew up in.

    If you want it legal - get the forms mentioned and file. Talk to the clerk about what you have to do. Adoption I would get a lawyer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,265

    Default Re: Step-Parent Adoption or Changing a Child's Last Name

    Understand that many judges take a dim view of a last name change as a way to short circuit proper adoption/parental rights actions. I'd be talking to a lawyer PERIOD.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    3,082

    Default Re: Step-Parent Adoption or Changing a Child's Last Name

    Quote Quoting qwaspolk69
    View Post
    How to change a child's name in Texas legally: https://texaslawhelp.org/toolkit/i-w...my-childs-name

    Key - "If the child has two parents or guardians, both must sign the petition." You have to serve the other parent and it sounds like they have to consent. The actual code didn't show up in an initial search but feel free to look for it.

    My step-nephew uses my brother's last name but they haven't legally changed it I don't think. But he uses it at school. His "father" has been out of the picture since he was six months old and has made no efforts to come see him and rarely pays child support. My brother and sister in law started into stepparent adoption but didn't have the money to go too far yet. My brother has raised him since he was two. That's the only dad he knows. I'm pretty sure the other guy has several kids across the country at this point he doesn't take care of. (My sister in law was young and got played). But they don't live in Texas - and they live in our hometown that my brothers and I grew up in.

    If you want it legal - get the forms mentioned and file. Talk to the clerk about what you have to do. Adoption I would get a lawyer.
    Most public schools have to use the child's legal name now.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    2,289

    Default Re: Step-Parent Adoption or Changing a Child's Last Name

    Quote Quoting Mercy&Grace
    View Post
    Most public schools have to use the child's legal name now.
    I don't know. It's a small town. The paper has used my brother's last name for my nephew when he's been in it for football. He's in junior high now. I don't know if they changed it legally or not. The sperm donor isn't the easiest to find and hopefully they can get the money to just have my brother adopt his stepson. That other guy is just a sperm donor - he has kids all over the place and takes care of none of them.

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