HOUSTON ADOPTION ATTORNEY
While it often takes many loved ones to raise a child, a child can only have one legal set of parents in Texas. If you are not a child’s biological parent but wish to be their legal parent, you can file an adoption case. The adoption process is unique for everyone but nearly always emotional. Your family might eagerly anticipate adopting a baby or child into your home. Perhaps you are a parent making the difficult decision to terminate your parental rights. Regardless of your circumstances, our caring Houston adoption lawyers at Moffett Law Firm are here to support you.
Adoption involves several legal steps that require knowledge and skill to navigate successfully. Fortunately, you do not have to go through this complicated process alone. The attorneys at Moffett Law Firm in Houston have over 30 years of experience working on adoption cases, so you can trust us to provide unmatched legal services. We are prepared to provide compassionate and effective counsel during this process and use our extensive knowledge to keep you informed every step of the way.
Who Can File an Adoption Case in Texas?
Typically, an adult can ask the court to adopt an eligible child. However, the results of their request depend on details specific to the case. The most common scenarios in which children are adopted include:
Both biological parents terminate their parental rights
A stepparent married to a biological parent adopts the child
The person seeking adoption is a former stepparent, managing conservator, or has had care and control over the child for at least six months
While in most cases the child must be living with the person requesting adoption for at least six months, this requirement may be waived if the Texas court decides it is in the child’s best interest.
Does Houston Adoption Require Termination of Parental Rights?
The termination of parental rights is necessary for a child to be adopted. Depending on the type of adoption, both parents may have to terminate their rights. In the case of stepparent adoption, or if the birth father is unknown, termination is only required of one parent. This may be voluntarily or involuntarily achieved.
A parent can terminate their rights voluntarily by bringing their own suit to court. However, even in these cases, the court must recognize that this termination is in the child’s best interest. The court may also terminate parental rights if the parent signed a relinquishment affidavit or the child’s father waived their interest.
If a parent is absent or does not pursue their own termination of rights, the court may decide to do so involuntarily. This may occur in the following scenarios:
- The parent abandoned the child
- The parent put the child in danger
- The parent participated in criminal conduct
- The parent failed to support the child
Texas courts require clear and convincing evidence that the involuntary termination of parental rights is in the child’s best interest.
If You Do Not Want Your Parental Rights Terminated
In some cases, courts will terminate parental rights against the parent’s wishes. Texas law allows for approximately 20 different grounds for terminating parental rights. However, just because one condition is met does not mean you will lose your parental rights. Getting representation from the right Houston adoption lawyers can drastically improve your chances of retaining your rights. At Moffett Law Firm, we want to fight for you if you choose to retain your parental rights to your child.
What Can You Expect During Houston Adoption Proceedings?
For parents to adopt a child, most courts require that a social study be performed and filed with the court. The social study will help the court determine if the adoption is in the best interest of the child. These social studies and reports often include:
- Reviews of home environments where the child would live
- Personal interviews with the adopting parents and child
- Evaluations of the child’s relationship with the adults involved in the case
- Notes about the child in different environments
- Criminal records of anyone living in the homes being assessed
If the adoptive parent is not the child’s aunt, uncle, stepparent, or grandparent, they need additional information about the child’s health, social, educational, and genetic history to best care for the child.
When making their final decision, the court ultimately considers what will be best for the child and take the following into account:
- The child’s physical and emotional needs
- Home stability
- The parental abilities of the adoptive parent
- The adoptive parent’s plans for the child
- Any actions of the parent that suggest their relationship with the child is unhealthy
- The adoptive parent’s reasoning for these actions
The court also hears testimonies from the parties involved and uses the specific details of the case to determine if the adoption would be best for the child. Our dedicated, knowledgeable Houston adoption lawyers can help you prepare for the proceedings and develop a personalized plan.
Discuss You Adoption Needs with a Trusted Houston Adoption Attorney at Moffett Law Firm
Whether you’re aiming to adopt a stepchild or already working with an adoption agency, you deserve top-notch representation that can help you navigate the challenging process. At Moffett Law Firm, we manage every aspect of your case to make your experience as stress-free as possible.
We have proudly provided high-quality legal services to the Houston area for over 30 years, so you can trust us to handle your case no matter the circumstances. We are here to help you understand your legal options and the decisions to make to help ensure a successful outcome. To discuss your adoption needs with a compassionate Houston adoption lawyer, call (713) 333-5800 or fill out our contact form.