One subject within the world of family law that we do not often write much about here on our blog is that of adult adoption. We have articles and blog posts written about adopting a child, such as after a CPS case or adopting your stepchild, but I couldn't find any blog posts about adopting an adult. At first glance, this is a concept that may seem a little different to many of us. After all, how can you adopt them as adult human beings? Well, I would like to take today's blog post and write a little bit about this topic in case it is something that may be relevant in your life.
Like any Texas family law case an adult adoption case begins with filing a petition. If you are an adult and you reside in Texas you can file a petition to adopt another adult. However, the adult that you seek to adopt must agree to the adoption. This isn't a situation like you would have in a Child Protective Services case where a child's parents have their parental rights terminated and that child is adopted to buy another adult without his or her consent. Even in those cases, a court will seek to make sure that a child is as comfortable as possible before approving the adoption. However, in an adult adoption the adult you are seeking to adopt must approve of the adoption and therefore the adoption will be voluntary.
If these two circumstances are in place then you are in a position to file for adoption of an adult in Texas. The next logical question would be where do you file for adoption of an adult in Texas? The answer is that you would file for adoption in either of these two courts in the County where you live: the District Court or County court. Depending on the County where you live the family courts may be in a County Court or a District Court. In Harris County, for example, the district courts hear cases regarding family law matters. In some smaller counties, it will be a County court instill in other counties it will be a County court at law. You would need to speak to an attorney or perform some basic Internet research to determine where to file in your particular home County.
The specific name of the document that you would file to begin your adult adoption case is called an original petition for the adoption of an adult. This is not a lengthy or overly detailed document but it does contain a great deal of important information. For instance, your name, the name of the adult you seek to adopt, and basic information about all of you must be included in this document. You must also be able to show that the court you filed your petition has jurisdiction over your case. Most courts in Texas will only accept filings done electronically and if you do not have an attorney will have to learn and likely pay for a subscription to a service that allows you to file directly into the County district clerks system.
Depending on the County court or district court that you file in you will likely have to pay a filing fee. The filing fee is typically under $100 but you can contact the district clerk's office or the County clerk's office to determine their specific filing fees. There are circumstances in which you may be able to have the filing fee waived but would need to provide proof to the court that this is appropriate in your situation. Usually, you will have to show that your income is negligible in that you have no assets that can be sold to pay the filing fee. Most people do not qualify to have the filing fees waived in any Family law case.
If you were to file a petition seeking to adopt an adult you will be known as the petitioner in the case. If you are married then both you and your spouse will be listed as petitioners. Typically the respondent in a case is the opposing party you may wish to argue against why adoption should be allowed. However, given that you're potential adopted child is an adult no notice of the adoption case must be given to his or her parents. the adult does not even need to have their parent's parental rights terminated before you adopt him or her. However, the adult who you seek to adopt must give their consent to the adoption in writing a file with the court for the adoption to be approved.
Going to court to get the adoption approved
As a part of the adoption process, you and your spouse as well as the adult that you seek to adopt must go to court for a hearing. This hearing will consist of providing evidence and information to the judge to meet a certain burden that must be shown to have the adoption approved. In the adoption case, you would be seeking to make this adult your son or daughter. Your adopted child would have the right to inherit money from you or collect benefits of other sorts. That adult would no longer have any right to receive an inheritance from his or her biological parents.
Are there information about adopting an adult in Texas
in general, adopting an adult is more straightforward than adopting a child. As we have already discussed, the notice does not need to be given to the adult's parents given that the adult is an adult and has Already consented to the adoption. next, the parental rights of the biological parents do not need to be terminated for you to adopt an adult. This streamlines the process and removes steps that would ordinarily be a part of the adoption process for a child.
The adult that you seek to adopt must sign a document stating that he or she wants to be adopted and will act as a party to your adoption lawsuit. The adult will then have to appear with you in court and stand before the judge gives their consent to your adopting him or her. Again this is typically not a big deal and a hearing in these sort of cases will not even have to last that long. As long as you have your paperwork and filings in a row and understand the questions that a judge will ask in these hearings the process should be pretty straightforward.
From my experience, one of the more come in types of adoption cases for adults involves a stepparent adopting a stepchild. This may have been something that had been planned for years but is coming to fruition now wall the stepchild is an adult. Sometimes families want a symbolic act for the adoption of an overstepping child or there may be legal or financial reasons why adoption of an adult is sought by a stepparent. As long as the adoption is not being consummated to avoid some sort of legal consequence it will be approved by the judge.
One thing that may be helpful to have your adult adoption case approved sooner and with more ease by the judge would be to have a background and criminal history check conducted on both yourself, your spouse, and the adult that you seek to adopt. This way a judge would be able to readily learn about your background and determine that the adult adoption was not being done for any Nefarious reason.
While we are at it, I should mention that your spouse will need to be a part of the adoption lawsuit as long as he or she is not the biological parent of your potential adopted child. If your spouse does not seek to be the legal parent of the adopted adult he or she will have to fill out a form submit to the court that states that he or she agrees with your decision to adopt this adult.
A situation that I have heard of occurring involves a biological parent and stepparent raising a child due to the second biological parent not being in the picture for a range of reasons. For example, if you are the stepparent to a young boy and are raising that child with your husband you may choose to wait until that child is an adult before adopting him or her. You may want to go this route with adoption even if the biological mother takes no interest in the child. The reason for this is that you would need to provide her with notice of your intent to adopt her son and would need to have her parental rights terminated as a result. This may cause her to take issue with the adoption and she likely would put up a fuss even if it meant you eventually getting to adopt the child. Sometimes it is better to let sleeping dogs lie until avoiding situations that can create chaotic and dangerous circumstances for a child.
In adopting an adult you need to be aware that the adult does not need to change his or her last name if they do not want to. Additionally, their birth certificate will not necessarily be changed as a result of the adoption as it would in the event of a child being adopted by you. There would be a formal in the legal recognition of you being that child-parent but otherwise, there would not be any changes that occur in legal documents such as Social Security cards and things of that nature.
Given our location in Texas, some of you may be wondering if you can adopt A person who is not a United States citizen and doing so if that would change their immigration status. The answer is that even if you are a United States citizen you cannot adopt an adult and then confer citizenship status or any protected status to that person by your adoption. He or she may still be subject to deportation or another penalty if he or she is in this Country legally.
The main benefit that I can tell from adopting an adult is that the adult adopted child has the right to inherit from you. If you have been raising a person over many years but are not that Childs legal parent then you may seek to formalize that relationship as you are getting older and that child is in adulthood. I recognize this as being a good instinct to have and one that may resonate with you.
If there is a need to prove the adoption of the adult child then you could utilize a certified copy of the court order granting the adoption while you wait for an amended or altered birth certificate. Sometimes this process can take a few weeks so if you need to submit proof of your paternity of the child then you could submit a court order from the judge with this stamp of the court on it.
Additionally, if you are a foster parent you may want to adopt A former foster child who has aged out of the foster care system and is now a legal adult. You may feel like this child is your actual child and the child may feel like you are his actual parent. As we discussed above as far as having legal and financial benefits to being named the legal parent of this child there are also emotional benefits to doing so. A sense of permanency and support from adopting your former foster child may result.
Do you need an attorney to help you get through an adult adoption case in Texas?
As with any question like this posed on our website I will tell you that whether or not you needed an attorney to help you with your adult adoption case depends on your specific circumstances. One of the things that makes an adult adoption easier than many other cases is that there is not going to be an opposing party in an adult adoption case. As said, you should not plan on Heather anyone there to dispute you in your efforts to adopt an adult person. Usually one of the benefits to having an attorney is being able to effectively cross-examine an opposing witness but that, too, will not be an issue in your adult adoption case.
The reality of any civil lawsuit is that there are procedures in the paperwork that you have to have filed and be completed before the case coming to a close. With that said, it may be a good idea for you to have an attorney available to guide you on filing the lawsuit, completing all the necessary steps in getting your case set up for approval in a hearing before a judge. If you are concerned about completing the adoption by a certain date or before a certain event occurs then a time may be of the essence. In that case, you may want to inquire about hiring an attorney to represent you in this case.
Closing thoughts on adult adoption cases in Texas
from my experience, adoption cases are some of the most positive and uplifting of all family law cases. If you have ever been inside of a courtroom during an adoption hearing then you'll know what I'm talking about. The final hearing to closeout the adoption of a child brings about so many positive emotions and is truly one of the better days in the family courts. Seeing a child walk out of a courtroom but their family is a heartening experience and a real pick me up for everyone present. Even the judges seem to get a kick out of adoption cases to understand their importance on our community.
While you're adopting an adult will likely not receive the same level of fanfare it can be just as impactful for your family on a micro-level. By adopting an adult you are legally confirming a relationship that has been years in the making and may have benefited the adult child both from an emotional and financial perspective. When considering an adult adoption you should meet with an experienced family law attorney to walk through the issues of the case and to determine the next steps in the process for you and your potential adopted adult child.
Questions about the material presented in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
if you have any questions about the material presented in today's blog post please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan.Our licensed family law attorneys offer free charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your circumstances may be impacted by the law. Thank you for your interest in our office and we hope you will join us again tomorrow here on our blog.