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Adult Adoption in Texas: Why, When and How does it affect inheritance?

When we think about adoption we usually do so in connection with a situation where a minor child is adopted by either one or two people. There is an entire process set up in the state of Texas where children can be adopted by willing families. These are some of the most heartwarming stories that you will hear in all the world at family law. Going through the adoption process for a child can be difficult but if the result is that the child winds up with a forever family then the process would have been worth it.

However, there are also situations where adults may Be adopted. These situations and circumstances are rarer but are nonetheless still relevant for discussion purposes. Some aspects of the process of adopting an adult are the same as adoption for children. However, there are fewer hoops to jump through, and overall, the process is more streamlined. Let's walk through the world of adult adoption in Texas today. We will discuss why an adult may be adopted as well as the impacts of adoption on the adopted parents and adopted child.

Before we go any further, however, I want to note that if you are part of a family that is interested in adopting an adult or are a person who may be adopted or is interested in being adopted as an adult then you probably have several questions that you need answers to. In that case, please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today for answers to those questions. our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultation six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. these consultations can be a great way to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

What role do an adult child's biological parents play in an adoption case? If you are an adult, meaning over the age of 18, and are in a situation where another adult or set of adults that are married are interested in adopting you their answer to this question would be a rather short period your biological parents, assuming that they are still alive, do not have to consent to your adoption. They would not even need to be contacted by you or the adoptive parents. They could be completely in the dark about your being adopted. This is quite different from a situation where you were a minor child. In that situation, You would have to get permission from your biological parents. In fact, near biological parents would need to have their parental rights terminated about you in order so that you could be adopted by a new parent or parents.

In many cases, it is a stepparent that comes forward, and may I approach you to discuss adult adoption. You may have a stepparent in your life who had wanted to adopt you since you were a child and brought into their life. For many reasons that may not have happened but now the process becomes clearer given that you are an adult. Understandably, your parent who was not married to your stepparent may not have wanted to give their permission for the adoption to proceed. However, now that you are an adult the permission of that parent does not need to be sought. 

Another benefit of waiting until you are older than 18 to get divorced is that you would not need to bring into the equation apparent of yours who has not been in the picture and has otherwise been an absentee parent. It may happen that as you grew older you began to lose touch with one of your parents due to lifestyle choices made by that parent. As a result, even if he or she has had nothing to do with you for many years it still could be difficult to obtain their written permission for foreign adoption if that was necessary. Fortunately, obtaining their permission for you to be adopted as an adult is not necessary. This allows you to stay out of their life and keep them out of yours. The process can proceed smoothly without that person's involvement.

If you are a teenage child reading this, or the stepparent of a teenage child reading this, you should consider the options available to you as far as adoption is concerned. Even if you are motivated to be adopted or adopt A stepchild at this time it may be advisable for you to hold off on doing so. This is especially true if your parent or the parent of your stepchild is abusive, violent, or otherwise unstable. Even if they attempt to adopt there's one that is in your best interests this may not be an opinion shared by the abusive parent. As a result, bringing that parent back into the life of you or your stepchild may be a huge mistake. Unless there is a pressing reason why holding off on the adoption is not a good idea you may want to hold off for now on moving forward with the adoption by waiting until you reach the age of 18.

Another situation where adult adoption may make some sense is if you raised a child growing up and now you want to make it official that he or she is your legal son or daughter. In many ways, you may have felt like this has been the case but until and unless you are legally named as that child's parent there are certain benefits that the child cannot receive from you. You may feel like this child is your son or daughter, but the law will not see it that way until a formal adoption Occurs. There may have been some circumstances in place since your child was young that made it so adoption was not feasible. Now that you are older and the child is an adult, adoption might be an option that you wish to pursue.

What happens once the adoption is finalized? 

Once you officially move forward with the adoption the adult that you adopt is now legally your son or daughter. If you have naturally born children, then your relationship with those children and your adopted child will be the same. It would be as if this adopted child is your biological son or daughter. The law holds all your children, adopted or not, in the same regard when it comes to inheriting property or other aspects of a legal parent-child relationship. Some people think that adopted children cannot inherit property from their adopted parents. This is not true.

The parental relationship between your newly adopted child and their biological parents will be terminated because of your adoption. This is done alongside the adoption and does not need to be a separately filed case. If you are an adult child who is interested in becoming adopted, then you need to think clearly about what you are committing to. Although you may be excited at the prospect of gaining a legal parent you will be losing your biological parents in terms of your legal relationship with them. Being able to make decisions for those parents and old age or even hold power of attorney over those parents in the future would not be possible in all likelihood. Being able to make emergency medical decisions for these parents would also not be possible in that the parent-child relationship would be terminated.

Another aspect of this discussion is that you as an adult adoptee will no longer be able to inherit property from your biological parents. That's not to say you won't be able to be listed as a beneficiary under their will. However, it means that you will no longer be able to inherit from that parent when he or she passes away if they do not have a will. Putting yourself in the position of your parent means that he or she may not draft a will thinking that their property will be transferred to you upon their death. It could be the shock of a century for your family to learn that you were adopted by another person as an adult and therefore that your now deceased biological parent and you have no legal relationship. As a result, you may still want to contact your biological parents to alert them to your decision to be adopted by another person as an adult.

Another area where people have questions is regarding potential immigration benefits because of being adopted as an adult. For instance, I have heard of situations where adding an adult we'll try to be adopted by a United States citizen to be able to gain immigration privileges, a green card, or even citizenship. The opposite may also be true where you may be the person who is a citizen and getting adopted by another person may be in an attempt to have your adopted parent be able to gain citizenship rights. 

And adult adoption in Harris County would need to be filed for in one of the family courts. Harris County, these are district courts. A petition to adopt would need to be filed with court costs and filing fees paid. The easy part about an adult adoption is that the entire process and we've done quickly given that the parties need to consent to the adoption for it to occur. Working with experienced family law and adoption attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan can be one way to ensure that your adoption proceeds smoothly and without unnecessary delay.

A summary of questions and answers related to adult adoption in Texas

To close out today's blog post I wanted to share with you some questions and answers Related to adult adoption that I have found to be helpful in my time as an attorney. First off, any adult can file an adoption case for another adult if the adult requesting the adoption is a resident of Texas and the potential adopted child agrees to the adoption. As we mentioned earlier, adult adoptions are much simpler than adopting a minor child because consent is given in an adult adoption. Additionally, you nor the person who is seeking the adoption need to obtain permission from your biological parents to begin the process. 

An adult adoption case is handled in whatever county or district court in your county handles family law cases. In Harris County, it would be a district court. You can check with the county or district clerk in your county to determine where the case would need to be filed. There will be costs associated with filing the adoption that can be paid by the person who is seeking to adopt you. Sometimes the adoptive parent and child will decide to split the costs associated with the case. There will be a fee schedule posted on the website for the court detailing the specific costs associated with the case. An Original Petition for Adoption of an Adult is the initial filing for an adult adoption in Texas. 

The filing fees for your county may differ from those of Harris County. Usually, they are similar but can be different from one another so you will need to contact the clerk's office if you need help locating a fee schedule. Sometimes you can ask a judge to waive the fees if you can show that you cannot play due to financial problems or lack of funds. For example, if you are receiving food stamps, welfare, or any other government service then this is typically a good sign that you will also qualify to have your court costs waived or reduced. 

When we talk about a "petition" to adopt an adult, we are talking about your request to become the legal parent of an adult. The petition is another word for "ask." What you are asking the court for will need to be contained in the Petition. Note that if you are married then both you and your spouse will need to be listed as petitioners in the petition to adopt an adult child. Keep in mind that if you are the spouse who will be adopting the adult then your spouse can ask the court for you alone to be named as the adoptive parent if that is his or her desire. 

In most family law cases, there will be a respondent- the party who must be notified of your lawsuit having been filed and then must respond. However, in an adult adoption, there is no notice requirement and no respondent as a result. Remember that you do not need to necessarily inform the adult child's parents of your adoption intentions- although it may be a good idea to do so. The case can proceed once the petition is filed and there is no need to wait for any respondent to be notified of the adoption petition having been filed. 

A major question that is sometimes asked regarding the adoption of an adult has to do with the need to potentially go to court. Some people assume, for example, that because no notice needs to be given to a responding party you can simply fulfill all the steps of an adult adoption case online or through the paperwork. However, you will need to go to court for the adoption case to be finalized. A hearing will be held where all parties to the adoption need to be present. You can expect the judge to ask questions about your petition to adopt. 

Overall, here is what gets sorted out in an adult adoption case. First, an adult adoption case makes the adopted adult the son or daughter of the person who is seeking the adoption. Importantly, if you adopt an adult child or become the adopted child of another person as an adult then you gain the right to inherit from the adoptive parents. As we talked about earlier in today's blood post you would lose the ability to inherit property from your biological parents, however.

Overall, the adult adoption process can be very rewarding and gratifying but may be difficult for you to manage as someone who is not experienced in handling family law matters. If you are interested in being adopted by another person as an adult or are interested in adopting an adult, then you should contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to discuss the process. We can walk you through what it means to adopt or be adopted as an adult and the impacts that could be felt by you and your family moving forward. 

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations 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 family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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