Adoption is the process by which an adult legally and permanently takes parental responsibility for a child and the rights and responsibilities of that child’s biological parents are terminated. There are several ways to adopt a child in Texas. But Texas adoption laws can be complicated, and the specific procedures may vary depending on the circumstances of the case. In the State of Texas, the adoption process is governed by the Texas Family Code (Chapter 162). Read on for some key points about the requirements and procedures for adopting a child in Texas.
WHO CAN ADOPT?
Any adult who is at least 21 years old and who has been a resident of Texas for a minimum of six months is legally allowed to adopt a child. Married couples are required to adopt jointly (unless one spouse is legally incapacitated or the couple is legally separated). Other individuals such as stepparents also can adopt a child. (NOTE:
DID YOU KNOW?
There is a distinct difference between custody and adoption. For more information on custody, read Conservatorship: A Brief Discussion of Child Custody in Texas.
In general, the biological parents of a child must give their consent for that child to be adopted under the law. There are some exceptions to this rule in Texas, such as if the parent abandoned the child or if they had their parental rights terminated by a court prior to the adoption process. (NOTE: Texas allows for open adoptions, in which birth parents and adoptive parents may agree to ongoing contact between the child and the birth family.)
In the case of stepparents who would like to adopt, there are a few differences. The consent of the child’s other biological parent must be obtained before an adoption can proceed. This may require locating the other parent and serving them with notice of the adoption proceedings to secure voluntary consent to the adoption; or, if the other parent refuses to consent, the stepparent may need to seek the termination of the other parent’s parental rights in court.
Before an adoption can take place in Texas, a home study must be conducted to determine whether the prospective adoptive parents will be able to raise a child in terms of financial stability, criminal background, and overall parental fitness. A home study also includes an evaluation of the adoptive parent’s or stepparent’s home environment. Once the home study is complete, a hearing will be scheduled to finalize the adoption.
If you’re considering adoption in Texas, you should consult with an experienced adoption attorney to get more information about the requirements and overall process. If you have questions regarding adoptions in Texas, reach out to the reputable McAllen, Texas-based attorney Manuel “Manny” Guerra of Guerra Law Firm, P.C. When you need the services of a caring and competent South Texas adoption attorney, you can be sure Manny Guerra will work hard for your family. Mr. Guerra has practiced law in Texas for over 20 years and is a member of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. Contact Guerra Law Firm, P.C. at any time online or by calling 956-277-9497.