The Law Office of Judy Ritts
Adoption Law

A person of any age can be adopted, even an adult, but most adoptions involve children. The information provided below applies to the adoption of children.

Adoption is the establishment of a parent-child relationship between a man and/or a woman and a child. It also requires the termination of that same relationship with one or both biological parents.

Children become available for adoption many ways and through many agencies. Often, the agency will provide the legal services that are required.

An attorney will be appointed by the court to represent the best interests of the child. If the child is old enough, the child’s wishes also will be considered. Adopting parents may or may not be required to pay the attorney’s fees.

A child must reside with the adopting parents for at least six (6) months before a court will decide whether to grant an adoption. Adopting parents will be required to do a criminal background check, including fingerprint checks. A social study into the adopting parents’ backgrounds and their ability to provide physically and financially for the child will be ordered. Again, the cost may or may not be borne by the adopting parents.

Stepparent Adoptions

Stepparents sometimes wish to adopt their stepchildren. After all, they live with them, love them, support them and share their daily lives. This type of adoption is usually easier but the formalities described above are still required. Sometimes, the biological parent does not consent to the termination of his or her parental rights as required. Without this consent, a statutory ground must be established (see below) AND the Court must be convinced that the termination and adoption are in the child’s best interest.

Termination Of Parental Rights

The parental rights of a biological parent must be terminated before an adoption can occur. The biological parent may or may not consent to the termination. It is possible to terminate a parent’s rights even without his or her consent if the circumstances comply with one or more statutory grounds for termination. Those grounds are listed in the Texas Family Code, Section 161.001 – Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship. Some of the statutory grounds will apply when one of the following circumstances has occurred.

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