Guidance Through Adoptions
Judges love adoptions. This is one of the few legal matters wherein a family court judge may be able to participate in a happy event in a child’s life instead of presiding over contested cases. Adoptions involve a responsible adult stepping forward to assume the care of a child and even sometimes establishing a parent-child relationship with another adult.
At Izzo & Associates, PLLC, we are proud to help clients across Texas build their families. We know how complicated the process can be, and we are here to make things simple for you and your family.
An Overview Of The Adoption Process
Many adoptions involve either a stepparent wishing to become the child’s legal father or mother or another caring adult or adults requesting that they be granted the legal rights of a parent for a child whose biological parents are either unknown, deceased or have had their rights terminated for cause. Prospective adoptive parents should always be advised to hire legal counsel to file the appropriate pleadings to request adoption. Adoptions are complicated.
The Texas Family Code requires that an adoption evaluation, or a “home study,” be conducted in adoptions involving minors to ensure that the home of the adoptive parent or parents is a fit and proper place for the child’s upbringing. The court also can require that an attorney or guardian ad litem be appointed to represent or look into the child’s best interests. Also, the court will require a criminal background check for the prospective adoptive parent or parents.
After completion of the various steps that the court requires, a final hearing is held in which the ad litem reports his or her findings, as applicable, the home study and background check(s) is submitted, and the new adoptive parent or parents are officially recognized. Generally, at this point, the child’s birth certificate is changed, and the records are sealed. The child’s name can also be changed as part of the adoption process.
Termination Of Parental Rights
If a biological parent petitions the court to have their child adopted by their spouse and the child’s other biological parent agrees to have their rights terminated, for the adoption to occur, we must first draft and have an affidavit for voluntary relinquishment of parental rights executed. The appropriate time period must then expire before an adoption proceeding may take place.
Some biological parents are absent from a child’s life or fail to take visitations or pay child support for the benefit of their child. In some of these cases, the nonparticipatory biological parent will agree to terminate his or her parental rights, smoothing the way for the adoption process. In other cases, nonparticipating biological parents contest our client’s motion to have their rights terminated, even though they don’t pay child support, or do not participate in their child’s life, merely because they do not like the concept of a stepparent taking their place. These scenarios have placed our clients in the position of attempting involuntary terminations.
When an involuntary termination request is filed, a contested court hearing must be held, generally involving presenting witnesses and evidence to the court requesting that the involuntary termination be granted for just cause. These cases can be very tricky, and you must have an experienced family law attorney by your side to help you through the process.
Let Us Help Your Family
Contact us today if you want experienced and reliable guidance through your adoption needs. Call a lawyer you can count on at 512-982-1161 or email us here to schedule your initial consultation with a compassionate and committed team.