In a world where being involved with legal action is usually a negative experience, it is heartening to be part of the process when you are welcoming a new member of the family through adoption. Whether you are adopting an infant through an agency, your spouse’s child, after fostering, or adopting a relative, you look forward to making your family complete. However, Texas statutes are strict on the requirements and steps to make the adoption legal. Even when all relevant parties agree, you must properly work through the process so that the law recognizes the parent-child relationship.
Because adoption rules are complex and you could encounter challenges through errors, it is wise to retain experienced counsel for assistance. Our team at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC has in-depth knowledge about the requirements and court proceedings, so we are prepared to guide you through the process. Please contact our adoption lawyers in The Woodlands today to discuss your specific circumstances, but a summary may be helpful.
Overview of Texas Adoption Laws: In general, adoption involves the transfer of parental rights and responsibilities from a child’s biological parents to one or more adults. The adoptive parents stand in the same position as if the child was naturally born to them. There are multiple requirements for adoption to have legal effect, but the two key aspects of the court process involve:
- Proving to the court that it is in the child’s best interests that the rights of the biological parents be terminated; and,
- Establishing that it is in the child’s best interests that the adoption is granted in favor of the adoptive parents.
In making a determination on these two factors, the court will also review additional requirements, including:
- The child must have resided with the prospective adoptive parents for at least six months;
- Adoptive parents must be adults at least 18 years old;
- If the child is over 12 years old, he or she must consent;
- When the adoptive parents are married, both must initiate and participate in the legal process; and,
- Parents must include a copy of their criminal records when filing the adoption petition.
Legal Tasks and Proceedings for Adoption: The process for adoption may actually begin well before the adoptive parents file a petition because the court requires them to participate in a pre-adoptive home study with a licensed social worker. This meeting is an in-depth review of the parents, which is documented in a report prepared by the social worker. The paperwork will be included as support for the child’s best interests component of the adoption petition. The social worker will:
- Conduct an interview of the adoptive parents to learn about the potential home environment for the child;
- Request verification of identity, marriage, and other legal documents;
- Review letters of reference;
- Assess the adoptive parents’ financial abilities to provide for the child;
- Conduct a criminal background check;
- Check for any history of child abuse; and,
- Engage in other tasks to evaluate how the adoption will meet the child’s best interests.
Termination of Parental Rights: Before the adoption can take place, it is necessary to terminate the parental rights of one or both biological parents. The court proceeding may be straightforward if these individuals voluntarily consent, and they can do so in the same hearing as the adoption. When one or both natural parents do not consent, it will be necessary to present evidence on why termination is in the best interests of the child.
The Final Adoption Hearing: When adoptive parents meet all requirements and the termination of natural parents’ rights is complete, the court will conduct a hearing to finalize the adoption.
Our attorneys at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC will be at your side throughout the process to advise you, assist with the preparation of documents, work with biological parents, and guide you through the home study. We will also represent you in court during the final adoption hearing to handle any legal issues and enter the proper orders.
Consult With The Woodlands Adoption Lawyers For Assistance
Welcoming a person into your home should be a joyous occasion, so the last thing you want is for the process to fail because of an omission or technicality related to Texas adoption laws. To ensure a smooth process, work with our team at The Ramos Law Group, PLLC. We can assist with the necessary paperwork, advocate on your behalf in court, and provide other legal support you need. For more information, please contact our office today to set up a consultation with a member of our team.
Our Client Testimonials
The decision to end my 25-year marriage was not an easy one, but hiring the Ramos Law Group was. From the initial consultation to the execution of the Divorce Decree everyone at the firm displayed the utmost professionalism and I was treated as if I was their only client. My attorney Lindsey, always provided precise legal guidance, was usually one step ahead of the opposing counsel, and had a superb understanding of how things would play out in the court room. Additionally, whenever my case needed a little extra horsepower, Mary provided that "surge" to keep things on track.
"Ms. Ramos and her entire staff worked with professionalism and compassion to guide me through the most difficult time of my life and to an outcome that was best for my family and myself. Ramos Law is incredible and I highly, highly recommend their services."
"I was recommended to see Mary Ramos for my on coming custody case,it was the best thing I could've done honestly.The Ramos law group was quick with emailed responses and telephone calls,informative with ANY questions I had and they also took action with what they thought would work,which it did,I had money troubles and they were still willing to help they sent me with a younger lawyer Lindsey Lewis to help save some money and she was the best!She knew what she was doing and Mary was still on my case to make sure things went smoothly and to catch any details Lindsey and I might have missed.All in all I am a very satisfied client and if I ever needed a family lawyer again I would come back.My case was won as I received primary for my daughter which is exactly what I asked for.If you're willing to listen to what they have to say and follow their guidance they're definitely worth hiring.I thought I wanted sole custody for my daughter and they explained that wasn't in the best interest for her and honestly they were right,they speak to you on a professional level and also a real level of how things are actually going to work and what could happen if you take a certain action.They definitely care about their clients and make their own bond with you,you're not just money in their pockets you turn into family. "
"I received excellent advice and representation from Ms. Lindsey Lewis. She kept me updated at every step of the process, and I never felt as if my case was set aside. I would hire The Ramos Law Group in the future. "
"I started my divorce with a lawyer who was not very responsive. My divorce case was complicated and needed more laborious scrutiny. Since the case was not moving forward I had to switch lawyers. Made the switch to Ramos Law group. Since the very first day Mary and her team have been very efficient and meticulous. Since the case was complicated the team had to go through myriads of pages in discovery. I was pleased with the legal team that helped us handle the paperwork in a very timely manner. All my questions were answered very promptly. The relay of information was easy with their software system. We finally had a law firm that we could trust. My divorce was finalized and I only have Mary and her team to thank for going through a difficult divorce. I would highly recommend the Ramos law group for their help and support for getting my life back on track. "