At Hanshaw Kennedy, our Family Law attorneys are experienced with the range of factors involved in child adoption. We have advised adoptive parents on the complete process of adoption filings and recommended Home Study Providers. If you plan to adopt or want to learn more about the steps involved, please contact our office.
In Texas, any adult may adopt a child, as long as the adoption is in the child’s best interest. Single adults are permitted to adopt, and where the adult is married, both spouses must join together in the adoption. A child 12 years or older must give consent, though this requirement may be waived by the court.
- Required Reports and Studies
- A pre-adoptive study of the home environment will be conducted by the Texas Department of Family & Protective Services.
- Prospective adopting parent(s) must fulfill a criminal background check.
- Post-adoption, another study will take place to observe and document the child and parent(s) interaction and adjustment.
- Before an adoption is granted, a Social, Health, Educational, and Genetic (SHEG) history report is required. The report is summarized and edited to protect the confidentiality of the birth parents, and the adoptive parents receive a copy of the child’s health history. Upon reaching adulthood, an adoptive child has the right to see the SHEG report.
- Step-Parent Adoptions
Step-Parent adoptions in Texas follow a two-stage process. First, the rights of the non-custodial, biological parent must be terminated, then second, the custodial parent’s spouse completes the adoption process. Step-parent adoptions can be streamlined, and generally only require one adoptive social study if the adopting parent has been residing with the child. Contact our office to understand your rights as an adoptive step-parent and to discuss the requirements for step-child adoption.
- Adoption of an Adult
Adoption of an adult may arise when a step-parent wants to formalize a long-term relationship with a step-child, or when the parties (adoptive parent(s) and adoptee child(ren)) seek to create binding inheritance arrangements, or when an adult requires continuous care in a situation of diminished capacity. A court will review a petition for the adoption of an adult, and may require that certain parties participate in the process or may waive such requirements – depending on the situation and what the court observes regarding the interests of the parties. Our Family Law attorneys can advise you on the steps necessary with the adoption of an adult.
- Termination of Parental Rights
When a person is adopting a child and the parents of the child are living, the rights of the biological parents will need to be terminated, so that the adoptive parent or parents can be given those rights. There are many factors a court can consider in terminating the rights of a biological parent, including the parent’s willingness to voluntarily terminate his or her rights. Our Family Law attorneys can guide you through the process for terminating the parental rights of another, and help determine the status of parental rights regarding the child you wish to adopt. Contact our office to arrange a consultation. Also, see our page on Termination of Parental Rights.