The Legal Challenges of Texas Adoption
Posted by Mary E. Ramos | Adoption
Adoption is one of the more delightful parts of Family Law. It is a beautiful process whereby a child is formally and officially made part of another loving family. For adoption to occur according to Texas adoption laws, at least one of the parents (such as in a step-parent adoption) or both must terminate their rights to that child. This is often best done with help from a Texas adoption lawyer.
Who can be adopted?
In Texas, any single or married adult can adopt a child whose parent-child relationship with one or both of their parents has been terminated. A termination suit can be handled separately or can be joined with an adoption suit by a Texas adoption lawyer. Parents, Legal Guardians, or Adoption Agencies can initiate adoptions; only these individuals may serve as an intermediary in adoption.
Who must be noticed in an adoption and termination?
A key issue for adoption and termination is notice. Legal parents, anyone with court-ordered access, or anyone you allege as a possible father in a petition has right to notice for a termination or adoption under Texas adoption law.
A waiver of citation may be signed prior to filing a termination or even before the child’s birth. The court may order termination if it finds that the parent has executed an unrevoked or irrevocable affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights. This affidavit may have come before or after the filing of the suit.
An affidavit of waiver of interest in a child may be signed prior to the child’s birth. A pre-birth filing of a termination petition, best supervised by a Texas adoption lawyer in a private adoption, requires a statement to confer standing by a pregnant woman or a parent of the child or the biological parent files the termination as the petitioner.
Is there a waiting period for a termination order to be entered?
There is a waiting period for termination with married birth parents. If the adoptive parents have completed a home study, a termination of parental rights can be entered anytime after 40 hours as long as the relinquishment is irrevocable for 60 days, or after 10 days if the relinquishment is revocable for 10 days. For unmarried birth parents, the termination order generally can be entered when the child is more than 31 days old and the adoptive parents have completed a home study; however, if paternity was adjudicated then the newly established father will relinquish under the same rules as married birth parents and the termination order will be entered with the same timeline as married birth parents. A Texas adoption lawyer can help to prepare the necessary termination process.
Must Texas accept another state’s adoption consent form?
One issue with Texas adoption law is whether Texas must accept an adoption consent form of another state if the birth parent delivers in another state and signs that state’s adoption consent. Full Faith and Credit of the United States Constitution requires Texas to accept any other state’s order, but it does not require that it accept the legal documents of another state, limiting the reach of a Texas adoption lawyer. The best course of action in such a scenario would be to hire a local attorney in the other state to make sure you are complying with the requirements. If possible, you should have the birth parents execute Texas documents and finalize the termination and adoption in Texas with the Texas adoptive parents.
How are inheritance rights changed for a newly adopted child?
Lastly, adoption does not change a child’s inheritance rights regarding the parent who relinquished his or her rights. It divests all other legal rights and duties between parent and child except for inheritance rights through the parent whose rights has been terminated. Furthermore, an adoption creates inheritance rights through the adoptive parents.
Thus, if you or a loved one is involved in an adoption or termination suit, or would like to be involved in one, consider your options carefully and consult with the knowledgeable attorneys at Ramos Law Group, PLLC. for an experienced Texas adoption lawyer.