Although they come with less regularity than questions about child custody or divorcecases, people do come into the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC with questions about adoption and how our office may be able to assist them with a potential adoptioncase.
Whereas many family lawcases 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 that you may find yourself with your own questions about the adoption procedure in the State of Texas. I would like to walk you through some basic information about adoption so that you may understand the process a little bit better and be able to make educated decisions for yourself and those people in your life.
What must occur for an adoption to take place
There are two circumstances that must first be in place for an adoption to occur in Texas. The first being 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 terminated. A child can only have two parents in the eyes of the law, so this all stands to reason.
Circumstance number two that must come into being is that the adoption of the child by you or whomever must actually be approved by a court. This involves the judge looking into your situation as best as he or she 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 be able to inherit money or property from the terminated parent upon their death are also determined in this proceeding.
Obviously, this is an extremely important 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 to do so 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. A relinquishment of rights form must be filed with a court wherein you are telling the court of your desire to no longer have any rights, duties or responsibilities for the child. The child will then be put up for adoption in order to locate people who want to take on those same rights and duties that 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 make a determination as to 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 him or her 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/or 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 would 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 in the event that 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 that are 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 important 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.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Texas Family Law Courts: Adoption and Modification Cases
- Adoption in Texas: Essential information that you need to know
- 11 Things You Must Know About Texas Child Custody
- 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 Adoption lawyers in Houston TX 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. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles adoptioncases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, Houston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.