Adopting a child or children is one of the most loving things a family can do. Adoption creates new families and provides children with a loving and nurturing home. At Queenan law, our Dallas, Texas adoption attorneys provide comprehensive legal services in all types of adoptive placements, private or agency, open or closed, domestic, interstate, and international.
Requirements for Adopting a Child in Dallas, TX
Texas adoption laws allow almost any adult who is over the age of 18 to adopt a child, although in some cases the child may need to consent to the adoption. In addition to being over the age of 18, a person or family who is interested in adopting a child will need to demonstrate that they will be able to provide for the child and meet the child’s best interests. Under Texas Family law, a person is not required to be married in order to adopt a child. However, at times it can seem that adopting a child as a single parent is more complex, that is why you should consider working with an experienced Dallas adoption attorney before you file any paperwork with the court.
There are certain people who may be ineligible to adopt a child based on a variety of factors. If a potential parent has a criminal record of a certain type then they may be precluded from adopting a child. In addition, if the potential parent or parents have a record of abuse of violence in their past, they may also be precluded from adopting a child. The process of adopting a child is incredibly complex and intricate and it cannot be stressed enough that before going through these proceedings you should contact an experienced attorney to be by your side.
Adoption Process and Laws in Texas
Under Texas law, a child may only have one set of legal parents. In a simple definition, an adoption is a type of legal proceeding in which a parent or parents who are interested in adoption, ask the court to deem them the legal parents of a child. When a potential parent or parents decide to adopt a child and bring them into their home, the process of adoption begins when the child meets legibility factors set forth under Chapter 162 Sections 162.001, 162.501, and 162.504 of the Texas Family Code. The eligibility factors of the child are paraphrased below:
- The rights of the parents have been terminated
- A parent whose rights have not been terminated is the spouse of the petitioner and the proceeding is for stepparent Texas adoption
- The child is at least two years old; the parent-child relationship has been terminated for one parent; the person applying for adoption rights has been managing conservator or has had actual physical possession or control of
- The child for at least 6 months; or the person is the former stepparent and the non-terminated parent agrees to the adoption
- An adult may adopt another adult with adopted person’s consent
Once the child has met these eligibility requirements they will be placed for adoption by their natural parent or parents. Subsequently, the adoptive parent or parents, legal guardian, a licensed child-placing agency, or the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, Texas adoptions will then go through a number of steps. The steps for a legal adoption in Dallas, Texas generally go as follows:
- The prospective legal parent or parents will file a petition to the court.
- A health, social, education, and genetic history report will be formulated the person petitioning, a child-placing agency, or any other social service.
- The person filing the petition for the Texas adoption will have to pass a criminal history report which deeply investigates any prospective parent’s past criminal history.
- Once the petition requesting termination has been filed along with the petition requesting adoption, the court will make a decision if the action is in the best interest of the child and then allow the Texas adoption.
- If the withdrawal of or denial of the petition has occurred, the court may remove the child from the adoptive home if the removal is in the child’s best interest.
However, this process is quite often a long and arduous process and requires a number of studies and reports to be conducted and submitted to the courts before the court will grant an adoption. The goal of these reports is to establish that an adoption either is or isn’t in the best interest of the child, which is the legal standard for an adoption. These studies generally include:
- Personal interviews of the adoptive parents and the child
- Evaluations of home environments where the child might live
- Observations of the child in different home environments
- Assessments of the child’s relationship with the involved adults,
- Consideration of criminal history reports for anyone living in the homes that are being studied.
Once all of these steps and reports are complete the court will evaluate all of the information provided in an effort to determine what is best for the child. The judge will make this decision after hearing the testimony of involved parties, examining the required reports and studies and then applying the law that applies to your particular situation.
Considering Adopting a Child and In Need of an Adoption Attorney in Dallas?
If you or your family have decided to open up your home and your hearts to adopting a child, then contact our Dallas adoption lawyers today. At Queenan Law, we provide affordable assistance to every client regardless if they are single or married. We understand that the adoption process is complex and we know how devastating it can be if an application for adoption is denied because of a technicality. That is why we urge you to contact us today for a confidential consultation. With more than 20 years of legal experience representing mothers and fathers throughout the Dallas area, our attorneys are always eager to put our knowledge and skill to work for you.