Bellaire Adoption Lawyers Assisting Families Going Through The Adoption Process
Whether you have decided to give up a child for adoption or are considering bringing a child into your home, adoption is a major life decision governed by many laws and regulations. It is essential for you to clearly understand how the adoption process works in Texas, and the key role an adoption attorney can play in helping you at every step of the way. Here are a few basic pointers about adoptions in Texas – as always, consult an attorney to get answers about your specific case.
How Do Adoptions Work in Texas?
Adoptions can be initiated by an adult with or without parental consent (in some cases). It will be up to the court to decide whether the person requesting to become an adoptive parent would provide a better home for the child than the biological parents. Most adoption cases will require a significant number of studies to show that the adoptive parents can offer the right conditions for the child to thrive and that they have a positive relationship with the child. The court will also look into the adoptive parents’ criminal history (as well as that of anyone else living in the potential adoptive home).
Adoptions can be done privately or through foster care adoption. Private domestic adoptions can take an average of 12 months to be completed, whereas foster care adoptions are finalized in 6 to 12 months on average after the foster child is placed in the prospective adoptive parents’ home. Once finalized, adoptions are legally binding and cannot be reversed after all papers are signed by both parties.
What Are The Requirements to Become an Adoptive Parent?
An adoptive parent must be at least 21 years old and demonstrate financial stability. He or she must be open to sharing information about their background and lifestyle, provide references and a complete home study, and if applicable, show proof of marriage or divorce and proof of homeownership. While owning a home is definitely beneficial for an adoptive parent, renters are not disqualified from adopting as long as they can demonstrate that the home environment they provide is safe and nurturing.
The adoptive parent is not the only person in the household impacted by adoption. All adult members living in the same household must be open to submitting to a criminal background check and child abuse check as part of the process. Adoptive parents can be single or married; if married, the person’s spouse will need to join the petition.
Are Relatives Given Preference Over Non-relatives in the Adoption Process?
When a child is put up for adoption, the state will usually give preference to relatives of the child during the process. Kinship adoptions is the term utilized to describe the process of a child being adopted by a biological relative. Kinship adoptions may be given priority over non-relative adoptions because the child may already have established a bond or relationship with that relative.
In some cases, non-relatives with a close bond with the child may also be considered for kinship adoption. When no relatives are available or capable of taking care of the child, non-relatives may be considered after fulfilling the requirements explained above.
What Does an Adoption Attorney Do?
An adoption attorney’s job is different from that of a social worker. An attorney can play an essential role in protecting the rights of all parties involved in the adoption process. Your adoption attorney can handle critical tasks such as filing forms, making court appearances, and ensuring the adoption is compliant with all state, federal and international laws.
At ALP Law Firm, we have a team of attorneys with vast knowledge and experience handling adoption cases and can provide answers to your questions and the legal assistance you need if you are considering adoption or dealing with a complex, contested adoption case. Contact our Bellaire office to see how we can help.