In Texas, two steps are required for the court to grant an adoption. First, the court must terminate the birth parent’s or parents’ rights to the child. Second, the court must approve the adoption. Obviously, termination of parental rights is a matter taken very seriously by the court. If termination is granted, that parent will no longer be considered a legal parent of the child. As such, the parent will no longer have any responsibilities or legal rights to the child. Normally, a termination cannot be changed and is considered final. A termination of parental rights must happen by a court finding that it is in the best interest of the child, which can be agreed to by the biological parents.
In an adoption, parental rights are transferred from one or both of the natural parents to the adoptive parent(s). The adoptive parent(s) becomes legally responsible for the child they adopt and they obtain all legal parental rights with regard to that child. It is even possible to complete a new birth certificate for the child which can show the adoptive parent’s names as the child’s mother and father at the time of birth. Also, during an adoption, the court may change the name of the child if requested.
Before a court will grant an adoption, a social study must be performed in the home of the adopting parents. Also, the adopting parents must obtain a Texas criminal history report. Normally, it is required that the child live in the home for six months before a court will consider an adoption. This requirement can be waived if the court finds “good cause”.
An adoption is a serious matter with a broad range of consequences. For example, if an adopting parent later divorces from the birth parent, that adopting parent can be required to pay child support just as if the adopting parent was the child’s birth parent. An attorney should be consulted to determine and explain all consequences of an adoption. Over the years, the lawyers at Lindsay, Lindsay & Parsons have handled numerous adoption cases ranging from unopposed (agreed to) cases to highly contested cases. Our experience in handling all types of cases can be invaluable as we assist you in this process. If you or someone you know is considering adopting a child, please contact us so that we can discuss all the legal rights, responsibilities, and consequences. For a lawyer, assisting in an adoption can be among the best days at the courthouse. In this regard, we look forward to assisting and serving you.