There are many ways to grow a family, and while some people achieve parenthood via childbirth, others become parents through adoption. Adoption is an enriching but life-changing event, and it is important for anyone interested in adopting a child to fully understand the emotional and legal implications of their decision. As such, if you are considering adoption, it is in your best interest to consult an attorney prior to embarking on the process. The knowledgeable Dallas child custody lawyers of McClure Law Group have ample experience helping people complete adoptions, and if you engage our services, we can aid you in pursuing your desired outcome.Texas Adoption Laws
The Texas Family Code establishes the guidelines and procedures for adopting a child. Specifically, the law provides that any adult can petition to adopt a child if the child “may be adopted.” There are various scenarios that render children eligible for adoption. For example, a child may be adopted if the parental rights of any living parent have been voluntarily or involuntarily terminated, or a suit to terminate such rights is joined with a petition for adoption. A step-parent may also adopt a child if the step-parent is married to one of the child’s parents and the parent joins in the adoption petition. There are other scenarios that allow children over the age of two to be adopted by the people who have had actual care and possession of them for at least six months.
With some exceptions, the law requires that the Department of Family and Protective Services, child-placing agencies, the child’s parent, or any other entity or person placing a child for adoption compile a report setting forth any available genetic, health, educational, and social information regarding the child. The report must be provided to the adoptive parents and must be supplemented if additional information becomes available.Adopting a Child in Texas
Typically, the first step in adopting a child is to file a petition for adoption. Additional measures may be necessary in cases in which one or more parties currently have parental rights with regard to the child. Further, children that are twelve or older must consent to their adoption.
After the petition is filed, an evaluation will be conducted. An independent evaluator will gather information regarding the parties and recommend to the court whether the adoption should be granted. Generally, the evaluator will interview the adoptive parents and if the child is old enough, the child, assess the environment of the home where the child may live and observe the child in the environment. The evaluator will likely also observe the interaction between the parties and examine the criminal history report of anyone living in the prospective household.
The courts typically will not finalize an adoption until a child has lived with the prospective parent for at least six months. The residency requirement may be waived per the petitioner’s request, however, if the court finds that a waiver is in the child’s best interest. The court’s ultimate decision as to whether to grant an adoption depends on whether it is in the best interest of the child as well, in consideration of factors such as the mental and physical health of the parties, the age of the parents, and the stability of the home environment.Speak to an Experienced Dallas Lawyer
Adoption legally alters families, allowing people to obtain full parental rights and privileges and affording children the benefits of a parent-child relationship. If you want to adopt a child, it is advisable to speak to an attorney about your options. At McClure Law Group, our experienced Dallas lawyers are adept at helping people achieve their dreams of becoming parents via adoption, and if you hire us, we can aid you in pursuing your goals. We frequently assist people with adoptions in Dallas, Frisco, Fort Worth, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, Rockwall, and Garland. We also represent people in child custody matters in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can reach us by calling 214.692.8200 or using our online form to set up a meeting.