Adoption

Adoption is a joyous occasion for a family. At Guest and Gray Law Firm understand that love is what makes a family, and an adoption is the ultimate gift of love that parents can bestow upon a child. Our team of caring and experienced adoption lawyers is ready to help with a Rockwall or Kaufman County adoption case. We offer free confidential consultations for adoptions. We have helped many clients successfully adopt and have a track record of success. We are the largest local adoption law firm and the best client-reviewed firm. We can help your family. Let’s discuss the process of adoption in Texas.

Terminating the rights of the biological parents is the first step in a Texas adoption

In order for a family to adopt a child in Texas, they must first seek to terminate the rights of a biological parent (one or both). A termination can occur either voluntarily or involuntarily. For involuntarily termination, Texas Family Code Chapter 161 sets out a specific list for grounds of an involuntary termination. Voluntary termination is much easier in that the biological parent will sign an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights, which will be filed with the court. The biological parent, within the affidavit, acknowledges the parental rights that they have with respect to the child but that they are waiving those rights. As with all cases, it’s much easier to have the parent agree to this rather than to fight them on it. Once either one or both parents have been terminated on, then that allows another person to adopt the child.

This can happen in different forms. For instance, both biological parents could have their rights terminated and then a non-biological couple could adopt the children or even a relative(s) of the child such as grandparents or aunt and uncle. If only one biological parent has their rights terminated, then one biological parent remains parent and a nonparent can adopt the child along with the parent. The most common form that we see is that where a stepparent of the child adopts. In most cases, the remaining parent and the stepparent petition the court for the termination and adoption within the same suit.

What are the requirements for a Texas adoption to be granted?

There are certain requirements in an adoption suit. The Texas Family Code requires that the adopting parent(s) undergo a preadoptive social study (and in some instances a postadoptive study) in which a court appointed social worker comes to the home of the adopting parent(s) and ensures that the adoption is in the best interest of the child. As well, the child must have resided in the home for at least 60 days prior to the suit.

The adopting parent(s) must obtain their criminal history reports from the Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS). The process for doing so is that the party gets their fingerprint card taken (one can do so at the local law enforcement agency and it normally will not cost anything) and then the attorney for the party sends that fingerprint card along with a letter containing certain information to the TDPS. TDPS will then process that information and send the criminal history report directly to the court.

Attorney Ad Litem in an adoption

Finally, the petitioners (parties seeking to terminate and adopt) will also need to request that the court appoint an attorney ad litem for the child. This is an attorney who is appointed for the child alone and represents the child’s best interests to the court. Thus, this attorney will meet with the parties and the child and perform certain investigations to make an informed recommendation. The attorney ad litem will attend the final hearing and report to the court what the attorney ad litem did in the case and whether or not the requested relief (adoption) is in the child’s best interest.

If you are considering an adoption call the adoption lawyers at Guest and Gray Law Firm. We are ready to help.