November was National Adoption Month, so let’s talk adoption! While adoption laws differ from state to state and the procedures vary depending on the situation, here are some of the basics of Texas adoption.
- The parental rights of the biological parents must be terminated. This termination can be involuntary or voluntary, which happens through an affidavit that is signed no sooner than 48 hours after the baby is born. If the identity of the father is unknown, there may be additional steps required.
- The child is placed with the prospective adoptive parents. This can be done through an adoption agency or independently.
- A Petition for Adoption is filed with the court. If the biological parents’ rights haven’t already been terminated, the Petition for Termination can be combined with this.
- The court appoints an Attorney ad Litem to represent the child and a social worker to complete a Pre and/or Post-Placement Adoption Home Study.
- The prospective adoptive parents complete CPS and federal criminal background checks, which are provided to the social worker and to the court.
- Once the child has resided with the prospective adoptive parents for at 6 months, a final hearing is scheduled. Assuming all procedural requirements have been met, the adoption is granted.
- The file is typically sealed, though a certified copy of the final order is typically sent to the Department of Vital Statistics so that a new birth certificate can be issued with the child’s new name (if applicable) and the adoptive parents listed as the parents.
Every case is different, and there are many ways that these steps could vary or that additional steps could apply. If you are interested in the adoption process, please contact one of our attorney at Hammerle Finley Law Firm to discuss your particular situation.
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The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice.