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Adoption: Essential information for Texas families

Although they come with less regularity than questions about child custody or divorce cases cases cases cases cases cases cases casescases, people go into the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, with questions about adoption and how our office may assist them with a potential adoption case case casecase.

Whereas many family law cases casescases present facts and circumstances that are not particularly “positive,” adoption cases can offer a glimpse into a situation where people come together and do what is in the best interests of a child.

It’s likely that if you are reading this blog post, you may find yourself with your questions about the adoption procedure in the State of Texas. I want to walk you through some basic information about adoption to understand the process a little bit better and make educated decisions for yourself and those people in your life.

What must occur for an adoption to take place

Two circumstances must first be in place for adoption in Texas. The first is that the parental rights of at least one parent of the child must be terminated by a Court. This means that of the legal father and mother to the child, one person’s parental rights must be removed. A child can only have two parents in the eyes of the law, so this all stands to reason.

Circumstance number two must come into being is that the adoption of the child by you or whoever must be approved by a court. This involves the judge looking into your situation as best as they can and determining whether or not an adoption of the child is in the child’s best interests.

What exactly does terminating a person’s parental rights mean?

When a judge terminates the parental rights of a person, this means that the former parent is not the legal parent of the child any longer and therefore holds no rights or duties to the care and upbringing of the child. Issues like whether or not the child will inherit money or property from the terminated parent upon their death are also determined in this proceeding.

This is a critical decision for a judge to make, and it usually cannot be overridden or appealed. A parent can agree to have their parental rights terminated, or a judge can make a ruling after being petitioned by the other parent or another party with standing to initiate such a proceeding in family court.

An agreement between parents to terminate their rights to a child can occur.

If you are the biological parent of a child and you and the other parent would like to terminate your parental rights to a child, you may agree to do so. Relinquishment of rights form must be filed with a court wherein you tell the court of your desire to no longer has any rights, duties, or responsibilities for the child. The child will then be put up for adoption to locate people who want to take on those same rights and duties you voluntarily gave up.

A hearing will be had within sixty days of the relinquishment form being filed with the court. It is up to the judge to determine whether the relinquishment request is in the best interest of the child and if it should be granted.

What does an involuntary termination proceeding look like?

Absent an agreement by the biological parents of the child; a court will appoint someone called an Amicus Attorney to help them determine if termination of the parent’s parental rights is in the best interests of the child.

Circumstances that lead to a parent having their parental rights terminated against their will typically involve absenteeism (not being present for the child), not providing support for the child even after being ordered to do so by a court, and abuse or neglect of the child.

What happens after a parent’s parental rights have been terminated?

If you are a person who is interested in adopting a child, you will file a petition to adopt the child in the same court that either terminated or will terminate the rights of the biological parent. The judge will order a social study to be administered upon your home, you and your spouse, and other persons in your life. That study will help the judge determine if your home environment is conducive to raising and supporting a child. Your criminal history will also be looked into.

If your adoption petition is approved, you become the legal parent of the child. I alluded to at the beginning of this blog post that this is a rare “happy” day in family court. Judges have a final hearing in which all of the parties to the case, even the child, come in and speak to the judge about things, and the judge makes a final ruling.

Especially if the parents had mutually agreed to terminate their parental rights, this is seen as a day where the child can celebrate a new “birthday” with their adoptive parents. I’ve even seen judges in Harris County gift Teddy Bears and other tokens of goodwill to the children involved in the adoption case.

Additional questions about adoption in Texas? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC

Thank you for coming to our website and showing an interest in this vital topic. If you have questions about adoption beyond what we’ve discussed in this blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC.

Our office represents clients across southeast Texas and would be honored to speak to you about doing the same for you and your family. A consultation with one of our licensed family law attorney is always free of charge and are available six days a week.

Book an appointment with Law Office of Bryan Fagan using SetMore

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. Texas Family Law Courts: Adoption and Modification Cases
  2. Adoption in Texas: Essential information that you need to know
  3. 11 Things You Must Know About Texas Child Custody
  4. 15 Simple (But Important) Things To Remember About Texas Adoption Cases And Lawyers
  5. How can parental rights be terminated in Texas?
  6. Termination of Parental Rights and an MSA in Texas
  7. Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights in Texas
  8. Relinquishment and Termination of Parental Rights in Texas
  9. Terminating Parental Rights in Texas on the Absent Parent
  10. Voluntarily Relinquishing Your Parental Rights in Texas
  11. What rights does a father have in Texas?
  12. Fathers' Rights: Children Born Out of Wedlock in Texas?
  13. Adopting an adult in Texas

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