Adoptions

Looking to enlarge your family through adoption? The Gonzalez Law Group, can navigate you through each step of the legal process.

Stepparent Adoption

Obtaining a stepparent adoption is a two-step process. First, the noncustodial parent's rights must be terminated. In Texas, a parent's rights may be terminated voluntarily or involuntarily. That parent may choose to sign a voluntary relinquishment of their parental rights, which will sever the legal bond between that parent and the child. If the noncustodial parent fails to cooperate, then that parent must be served with a formal termination lawsuit. The court may involuntarily terminate the parent-child relationship if it is determined to be in the best interest of the child. For example, if the parent knowingly places the child in danger or that parent has voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession of another who is not the parent without providing adequate support for the child and has remained away for at least six months. Other grounds may be considered if it is in the best interest of the child.

Consequences Of Terminating Birth Parents' Rights

  • Birth parent may no longer make decisions on behalf of the child, related to medical, education or psychological
  • No future child support will be owed
  • No further contact with the child may be ordered

Second, a formal adoption by the custodial parent's spouse may occur after the termination is final. A stepparent adoption is encouraged when you and your spouse are married and your spouse wants to legalize the emotional bond he or she has with your child. As a general rule, a child must reside with you and your spouse in your home for at least six continuous months.

Before the adoption is finalized, certain requirements must be filed with the court. For instance, the prospective parent must get a criminal background check. Moreover, a social study report must be completed.

Social Study

The family must participate in a home study. A licensed social worker will collect information during a home study to help the judge decide if an adoption is in the best interest of the child. The social worker will interview the adoptive parents, interview references from family and friends, conduct a criminal background check and interview the child.

Once all the requirements under the Texas Family Code are complete, you can move forward to finalize the adoption process. The adoptive parents will attend a final hearing in court, where the family is invited to take pictures with the judge. You may ask the judge that the child's last name be changed to the adoptive parent's last name.

Birth Certificates

The Texas Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit maintains birth certificates. The Texas Vital Statistics will issue a new certified birth certificate to reflect the adoptive parents and the child's new last name. You must mail the Certificate of Adoption to the Texas Vital Statistics, along with a certified copy of the final order of adoption and the appropriate fees.

If you are considering an adoption, please Call Now at 832-530-4070. Se habla español.