Family Law is a field that sees its fair share of difficult cases and circumstances for an attorney to engage in. After all, when you get down to it we are working with people like yourself whose families are going through very tough times and sometimes the end result is not exactly what we or our client want them to be. Even on the best of days and best of outcomes we see people- children most notably- have to suffer through a legal case that is difficult.
One of the bright spots of practicing family law, however, is being able to be a part of an adoption case. If you are interested in seeing some good in humanity as we conclude 2017, I would suggest you head down to your local courthouse and check to see when their adoption cases are being heard.
In Harris County that day is typically Friday. In a setting that is usually full of anxiety and tension, the final hearing in an adoption case is one of the more uplifting and fulfilling sights you could behold in a courtroom.
Adopted children, their new parents and courtroom personnel (including the judge) are there to put a bow on the present that is a new parent/child relationship. Judges usually take photos with the new family and even hand out teddy bears as a sign of good will and good luck.
If we put this heartwarming scene off to the side for a moment you may wonder how a person gets from wanting to adopt a child to actually being able to share in the terrific moment that I shared with you in the prior paragraph. This blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC is intended to discuss the information you would need in order to adopt a child in Texas. There is a formal process and procedures that you must follow and we are happy to share those steps with you today.
The basics: Adoption and what it means
So we can all start off on the same footing, adopting a child means that you are taking on the rights and duties to raising a child. In the legal sense of it all those rights and duties are being transferred to you from the biological parent of the child.
If you are married then your spouse would take on those same rights and duties transferred from the child’s other biological parent. Once this is done there is no distinction between “adoptive parent” and “parent”- you have the same responsibility for care and right to make decisions as if the child had been born to you biologically.
For you to adopt, a biological parent’s rights must first be terminated
Here is the somewhat messy part of the equation. If you have petitioned a court to become the adoptive parent of a child then that means you will have to replace that parent in terms of rights and duties.
One way this can be accomplished is to have the biological parent agree to terminate their parental rights to the child by signing an agreement to do so. If this is not a possibility your judge must terminate them as a matter of law based on neglect, abuse, being an absentee parent.
If the judge determines that it is in the best interest of the child that the biological parent’s rights be terminated and further determines that it is in the child’s best interest that their parental rights be transferred to you then the adoption can proceed.
What circumstances must be in place in order to you to begin the adoption process?
In order to maximize your chances of success in an adoption case you must be in a good position in terms of a relationship and continuous care of the child. Your child must have lived with you for at least six months prior to the adoption being finalized.
Furthermore a home study must be done of your residence so that the judge has further understanding of what sort of home environment the child is being permanently placed into. If the child you are seeking to adopt is over the age of 12 then the child must approve of your adopting him or her.
The home study that I discussed with you a moment ago merits further detail. A social worker will be appointed to your case by the court that allows an examination and investigation into your home. The physical structure and living conditions will be evaluated as well as your parenting methods. Background documents will be reviewed including a criminal history verification.
Once you are given the green light by the social worker an amicus attorney will be appointed to your case. An amicus attorney acts literally as a “friend to the court” by being its eyes and ears outside of the courtroom. The amicus is able to do similar work as that of the social worker but does so with an eye on the legal necessities of the adoption based on what is or is not in the best interests of the child.
Having an attorney who experienced in practicing family law in your county is critical because he or she will most likely have a working relationship with your appointed amicus attorney.
Once you have received the go-ahead from the social worker and amicus attorney your judge will schedule a hearing to make sure all paperwork has been received. Once this is done a final hearing will take place with all parties present including the children.
Questions about adoption? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC today
If you have any questions about the adoption process please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC today. Our licensed family law attorneys are standing by to set up a free of charge consultation for you in our office. We represent clients across southeast Texas and would be honored to speak to you about doing the same for you and your family.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- How can a step parent adopt their step child in Texas?
- 15 Simple (But Important) Things To Remember About Texas Adoption Cases And Lawyers
- How can parental rights be terminated in Texas?
- Termination of Parental Rights and an MSA in Texas
- Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights in Texas
- Relinquishment and Termination of Parental Rights in Texas
- Terminating Parental Rights in Texas on the Absent Parent
- Voluntarily Relinquishing Your Parental Rights in Texas
- What rights does a father have in Texas?
- Fathers' Rights: Children Born Out of Wedlock in Texas?
Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Texas Adoption Lawyers
The adoption process can be daunting at the time. You don’t have to face it alone. The attorneys at The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC can help you navigate the process and create your perfect family. If you are in the greater Houston area and are interested in learning more, contact us today to speak directly with one of our adoption attorneys about your case.
Our Spring, Texas Adoption Lawyers are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Texas Adoption Cases in Spring, Texas or surrounding areas, including Harris County, including: Cypress, Klein, Humble, Tomball, the FM 1960 area, North Houston; and Montgomery County, including: Conroe and The Woodlands; as well as the surrounding counties of Fort Bend, Grimes, Waller, and Washington, contact us today to speak directly with one of our family law attorneys about your case.