Finalizing an adoption in Texas is one of the few joyous occasions in a family law courtroom.

Most of the family law judges in Harris County require a pretrial hearing prior to the final trial to ensure that all requirements have met and that the parents don’t show up the day of the adoption hearing only to be sent home disappointed. Once the pretrial hearing has been held and all necessary requirements have been completed, including a social study and background check of the adoptive parents, then all necessary parties will appear before the judge to finalize the adoption.

Necessary parties include the child, the adoptive parents, the attorney for the adoptive parents, the amicus attorney, an ad litem attorney if one was appointed as well as any potential government agency parties, such as caseworkers from CPS if applicable. Extended family such as siblings and grandparents are also encouraged to join in on this momentous occasion for a family.

The parties will go before the judge and testify as to the facts necessitating the adoption. The attorneys will question the adoptive parents as to their understanding that they are becoming the legal parents of a child and whether they believe the adoption is in the best interest of the child. Often times, age permitting, the child is allowed to speak to the judge and attorneys about their adoptive parents and desire to be adopted.

Once the attorneys have elicited the necessary testimony and the judge has reviewed all the relevant pleadings, the judge will sign an order granting the adoption and pronounce the child to legally belong to the adoptive parents. Often times a judge will allow the adopted child to bang the gavel or bestow a small toy or stuffed animal to the child. The family is also allowed to take pictures with the judge on the bench to memorialize the special day.

If you are contemplating legally adopting a child and would like to partake in an occasion as described above, please contact the Ramos Law Group, PLLC and one of the competent family law attorneys can assist you with any adoption-related inquiries.

If you desire to change your child’s last name, there are procedural steps that must be followed. In Texas a parent must petition a court to legally change a child’s name. This petition must include the present name and residence of the child, the reason the name change is requested, the full name requested for the child, whether the child is subject to continuing exclusive jurisdiction of a court, and whether the child is subject to the registration requirements under Chapter 62 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. If the child is ten years of age or older, the child must provide written consent for his or her name to be changed.

Once the petition has been filed and all the parties properly served, a hearing will be scheduled. The other parent will be given the opportunity to contest the proposed name change; if that is the case then the Court will decide if the name change is in the best interest of the child.   In most cases, the court will require that both parents consent to the name change.

If the Court grants the name change request, the judge will sign the order granting the name change and you will be able to take a certified copy of the order to the necessary agencies to have all identification and governmental documents changed to reflect your child’s new name.

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