Adoption in Tyler and the State of Texas

An Adoption Attorney can help you navigate the often complex process of adoption. The proceedings can take time and money, and unfortunately, they are not always as simple as they might seem. Below is some basic information on Texas adoptions:

Who can Adopt?

Not everyone can adopt. Stepparents generally can; as well as those placed with the child for the thirty days prior; those with actual possession of the child for at least two out of the preceding three months; those that have adopted the child’s sibling; and those with substantial past contact with the child. A pregnant woman can also file a form giving prospective parents the ability to file for adoption. In addition, adoption requires a waiting period; the child must have lived with the adoptive parent for six months.

Who can be Adopted?

Just as not everyone can adopt, not every child can be adopted. Generally, before a child can be adopted, each parent’s parental rights must be terminated. Termination can be voluntary or involuntary, but either way, it is generally required before an adoption can occur.

Do others have to consent to the Adoption?

Sometimes adoption requires the approval of other people, such as the managing conservator of the child and the child if he/she is 12 or older.

What Documents are Required for Adoption?

An adoption evaluation (essentially a study of the home and the suitability of the family) is required. Also, the party seeking adoption must have a criminal background check performed. Sometimes, an Attorney Ad Litem, essentially an attorney that voices the child’s desires to the Judge, is also needed.

What happens after the adoption?

A person that adopts “steps into the shoes” of the parent, and obtains all the benefits, and burdens, that come with parenthood. For instance, an adoptive parent would be liable for child support were a custody suit to ensue and another party to become a custodial parent. The adoptive parent would also be able to sign off on any matter the biological parent would. For the child, the adoptive parent is the legal father/mother in every way. In fact, the birth certificate can be changed to reflect this and the child can take an adoptive parent’s last name. Notably, the record of an adoption proceeding can even be sealed, such that it cannot be obtained by others, including the child when he/she gets older.A

What can prevent an Adoption?

Adoption generally requires termination of the parents’ rights. Sometimes, it can be difficult to terminate a parent’s rights. A parent can try to voluntarily terminate his/her rights, but courts don’t like to grant it; it means that the parent will no longer owe child support and many courts want the obligation to continue. Also, a parent’s rights can be involuntarily terminated, and there are many grounds for such termination, most of which are based on a lack of support or the commission of abuse or neglect against the child. However termination is sought, if termination is not obtained adoption generally cannot occur. In addition to needing termination, a court will only grant an adoption if it is in the best interest of the child. An adoption can also fail if an adoption evaluation fails to approve the adoption or if an Attorney Ad Litem, should one be appointed, does not recommend adoption to the judge.

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