Houston Adoption Lawyer - Help with Legally Adopting a Child in Texas
Texas Family Code, Title 5, Chapter 162, deals with all aspects of adoption. The State of Texas has stringent rules, but that is to protect all those involved and to make it essentially impossible for the biological parent to reclaim the child. The Law Offices of Frank E. Mann P.C. can help you navigate the murky terrain surrounding adoption laws and make the process less complicated.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Adopt a Child
Adopting a child is a life-long commitment. Before going through the sometimes difficult and lengthy process, potential parents who are contemplating adding another person to their family, should ask themselves some serious questions. For example:
- Are they looking for a newborn baby or an older child?
- Do they want to go through a private adoption where they pay the expenses of a pregnant mother and have the baby immediately or to go through a formal adoption agency?
- Do they want to adopt a foster child?
- Do they want to adopt a step-child?
- Are they willing to adopt a child with special needs? If so, do they have any limitations on the needs the child may have?
- Are they willing to adopt a sibling group?
- Do they want a child born in the U.S. or foreign-born?
Procedures for Adopting a Child or Children in Texas
There are special provisions for adopting step-children or for adopting those to whom the prospective adoptive parents are related to the children through biology or adoption. If those exceptions do not apply, the following procedures take place.
- Prospective parents must be responsible, mature adults who are at least 21 years of age. They must be financially stable and able to care for a child.
- They file an application for adoption.
- Each prospective parent must submit to a complete background check, including a complete criminal history report.
- Prospective parents must provide the court financial statements to prove they are stable and financially able to provide for the child or children.
- Show proof of marriage. In some cases, proof of divorce may be necessary.
- A thorough home inspection is made to be sure the parents have a safe environment in which the child or children will be raised. Personal interviews will be conducted with all household members.
- No child, not matter what the age, is available for adoption until the parental rights of both parents have been terminated or the parents have signed a written consent to the adoption of their child.
The person or agency expecting to place a child in the home of the prospective parents will prepare as complete a record of the child as possible, including: age, genetic and medical history, education and social history and any history of sexual abuse. The report is to be given to the parents prior to their first meeting with the child.
If a baby is placed in a home in Texas, the adoption process will not be complete and a final order of adoption issued until the child is at least two years old. No adoption of a child of any age will be final until the child has lived in the home for a minimum of six months.
Texas Laws Regarding Stepparent Adoption
Adopting a stepchild is not as easy as it seems it should be in Texas. If you want to adopt your stepchild officially, we suggest retaining the Law Offices of Frank E. Mann PC . We know Texas laws regarding stepchild adoptions.
The stepparent who wants to adopt the child must file an adoption petition and must be married to, or formerly married to, the biological parent of the child who is the subject of the adoption. The biological parent who the stepparent wants to replace must agree to the adoption, have his or her parental rights terminated, or be deceased. If the biological parent has disappeared and cannot be found, evidence of attempts to locate the parent or proving that the absent parent abandoned the child must be submitted to the court to obtain consent.
A social worker will conduct a home study and interview both the biological parent and the stepparent. The financial records will be reviewed as well as the work history of the stepparent. The report will be submitted to the court along with the social worker’s recommendation as to whether the adoption is in the best interest of the child. Stepchildren over the age of 12 must consent to the adoption in Texas.
Contact an Adoption Attorney in Houston, Texas
Call our family law office now to schedule a free consultation with the Law Offices of Frank E. Mann P.C. Mann is a seasoned, knowledgeable adoption lawyer with over 30 years of experience. Adopting a child can be complicated; we will help you every step of the way.