Adoption: A New Beginning For A Child
The adoption process is unique for each family, but always highly emotional. Your family might be eagerly anticipating the adoption of a baby or child into your home. Perhaps you are a parent making the difficult decision to give up your parental rights.
No matter what part you play in the process, adoption involves several legal steps that require knowledge and skill to effectively navigate. The attorneys at Moffett Law Firm in Houston are prepared to provide compassionate and effective counsel for your family during this process.
The Legal Requirements For A Texas Adoption
For a child to be “adoptable” by any adult, regardless of that adult’s marital status, that child’s parental relationship must have terminated. What this means is that the legal procedure known as the “termination of parental rights” was carried out on either or both of the child’s biological parents.
An adoption case can be done simultaneously with a termination suit by an adoption attorney or brought after parental rights have been terminated.
Giving Proper Notice Is The First Step
Certain parties have a right to notice regarding both the termination of parental rights and the adoption proceeding, including:
- The birth parents of the child
- Anyone with court-ordered access to the child
- Possible fathers alleged in an adoption or termination petition
If proper notice is not provided, then it could impact the success of the adoption, which is why you must have the assistance of a knowledgeable family law attorney.
Terminating Parental Rights Is Necessary For Adoption
The termination of parental rights is a necessary step in order for a child to be adopted. Depending on the type of adoption, a termination may be done on one or both parents. In the case of stepparent adoption, or if the birth father is unknown, termination is only required of one parent.
In private adoptions, one or both birth parents may voluntarily sign a termination of parental rights. However, they may not consent to the adoption until 48 hours after giving birth to the child. If a birth father is known, he must also consent to the adoption, and be notified of the mother’s intention to place the child for adoption. If his location is unknown, reasonable efforts must be made to contact him. After the 48 hours have expired, the birth parents may sign a consent to adoption, which terminates their parental rights after the waiting period described below has expired.
When You Don’t Want To Terminate Your Parental Rights
In some cases, courts will terminate parental rights against the wishes of the parent. Texas law allows for approximately 20 different grounds for the termination of parental rights. Courts take these cases very seriously, however, and just because one condition is met does not mean that you will lose parental rights. Getting representation from the right lawyers to protect your parental rights can drastically improve your chances of retaining them. At Moffett Law Firm, we can fight for you to keep your parental rights.
Discuss Your Adoption Needs With Us
Whether you’re aiming to adopt a stepchild or a family member, or you’re already working with an adoption agency, the attorneys at Moffett Law Firm can help you navigate the difficult process.