After a stressful, unpleasant divorce, falling in love again can be an amazing experience. If there is anything better than finding someone that you love and who loves you in return, it is having that person also grow to love your child.
When your new spouse has played the role of parent for years and is ready to take the next step, you may begin to discuss their adoption of your child. However, if your ex is still alive, there will be an important step you have to complete first. You will have to convince your ex to terminate their parental rights before the adoption can proceed.
Why would someone give up their parental rights?
Some people legitimately don’t want to be parents or perhaps have grown apart from their children since the relationship that produced them ended. Other people may love their children but resent the financial obligations that come with a divorce or breakup.
If your ex has paid child support for years or if they have past-due child support that they don’t intend to pay, voluntarily terminating their parental rights can also end their child support obligation. That can be a strong incentive for someone to agree to the termination. You can also offer to allow your ex to visit your child, even if they can no longer demand court-ordered visitation after the end of their parental rights.
Can you compel someone to terminate their parental rights?
Although the state of Texas can terminate a parent’s rights due to abuse or neglect, you don’t have that same ability. If your ex won’t agree to terminate their rights, you may have to accept that a formal stepparent adoption just won’t be an option for your family right now.