Many people rely on family members to help them tend to their children. In some instances, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other relatives not only lend a hand, but they also act as the primary caretakers for children when their parents lack the want or ability to provide them with proper care. In such situations, it often makes sense to formalize the relationship and secure the caregiver's rights through relative adoptions. Adopting a relative's child can be an emotionally and legally complex undertaking, and it is advisable for anyone considering growing their family via relative adoption to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. At McClure Law Group, our seasoned Dallas adoption attorneys are proficient at helping parties complete adoptions in a respectful and efficient manner, and, if you wish to adopt a relative, we can guide you through the process.Texas Family Code Provisions Regarding Adoption
The Texas Family Code establishes who can adopt and be adopted. Specifically, it states that any adult can petition to adopt an adoptable child. If the petitioner is married, their spouse must join in the petition. Children living in Texas may be adopted if their relationship with each living parent has either been terminated or a termination suit is joined with the adoption case. A child who is at least two years old can be adopted if the party seeking to adopt them has had actual care, control, and possession of them or has been their managing conservator for at least six months before the adoption if the parent-child relationship has been terminated as to one parent and the other parent consents to the adoption. If a parent completes an "affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights" that provides consent for a licensed agency or the Department of Family and Protective Services to place the child for adoption and names the agency or department as the child's managing conservator, the adoption order will terminate the parent's rights without further proceedings.The Process of Completing a Relative Adoption
Typically, parties seeking to complete relative adoptions will begin the process by filing a petition for adoption. In some cases, it may be necessary to file proceedings to terminate the parental rights of the child's parents, as well. If the child is twelve years old or older, they must consent to the adoption.
The Texas Family Code dictates that, after the filing of the petition, an adoption evaluation must be conducted. This is true regardless of whether the child currently resides with the relative seeking to adopt. During the assessment, an independent person will interview the potential parents and child, assess the living environment, and observe how the child and prospective parents interact with one another and anyone else living in the house. The evaluator will also conduct a criminal background check. Following the evaluation, the evaluator will make a recommendation to the court as to whether the adoption should be granted.
Generally, the courts will not finalize adoptions until the child has lived with the parties seeking to adopt for at least six months. The courts will make exceptions, however, in cases in which they find that waiving the six-month waiting period is in the child's best interests. Similarly, the child's best interests are the court's sole concern when assessing whether to grant an adoption. Typically, the court will examine factors such as the parent's ability to provide for the child and the child's needs to make the determination.Meet With a Trusted Dallas Lawyer
Relative adoptions can allow people who act as parents to solidify their rights and children to be raised by family members in a stable and loving environment. If you have questions regarding relative adoption, it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney. The trusted Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group can advise you of your options and assist you in taking the measures necessary to protect your interests. We assist parties with adoptions in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, and Garland. We also aid people with family-law issues in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can contact us via our online form or by calling 214.692.8200 to set up a confidential conference.