For many people, adoption allows for the providing of a parental relationship to a child who is often without a family. Adoption is the legal process that creates what is, hopefully, a mutually beneficial lifelong relationship.
The adoption process in Texas, however, can be very complicated and prospective parents must meet certain requirements. Any person interested in adopting a child will want to retain legal counsel for help ensuring all of the necessary paperwork is filed. Our family law attorneys in Houston can make sure that your adoption complies with all state and federal regulations. You can have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call (832) 530-4070 to set up a free initial consultation.
Harris County Adoption Information Center
Adoption Laws in Texas
In Texas, there are certain conditions where a child may be adopted. The eligibility of the child for adoption can arise if:
- The parent-child relationship with both parents has been terminated. A suit for termination can also be joined together with a suit for adoption;
- A stepparent can adopt if they are married to the petitioning spouse;
- If the child is at least 2 years of age, the parent-child relationship has been terminated with respect to one parent, the person seeking the adoption has been a managing conservator or has had actual care, possession, and control of the child for a period of six months preceding the adoption or is the child’s former stepparent, and the nonterminated parent consents to the adoption; or
- the child is at least 2 years old, the parent-child relationship has been terminated with respect to one parent, and the person seeking the adoption is the child’s former stepparent and has been a managing conservator or has had actual care, possession, and control of the child for a period of one year preceding the adoption.
The Texas Family Code defines an adoption evaluation as “a pre-placement or post-placement evaluative process through which information and recommendations regarding adoption of a child may be made to the court, the parties, and the parties’ attorneys.” The court is required to order an adoption evaluation when a person seeks to adopt a child. Texas Family Code § 107.153(b) establishes that an adoption evaluation needs to include an evaluation of the circumstances and the condition of the home and social environment (otherwise known as a “home study”) of any person requesting to adopt a child. In Texas, a child who is 12 years of age or older must consent to the adoption in writing or in court.
Parental rights may be terminated and an adoption can proceed without parental consent under multiple grounds established under Subchapter A to Chapter 161 of the Texas Family Code. The court can also order the termination of the parent-child relationship under Texas Family Code § 161.003 in a suit filed by the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) when the court finds that:
- the parent has a mental or emotional illness or a mental deficiency that renders the parent unable to provide for the physical, emotional, and mental needs of the child;
- the illness or deficiency, in all reasonable probability, proved by clear and convincing evidence, will continue to render the parent unable to provide for the child’s needs until the 18th birthday of the child;
- the department has been the temporary or sole managing conservator of the child of the parent for at least six months preceding the date of the hearing on the termination held in accordance with Subsection (c);
- the department has made reasonable efforts to return the child to the parent; and
- the termination is in the best interest of the child.
Compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is also required in cases involving children from other states or countries.
Types of Adoptions in Texas
No two adoption cases are the same. Each situation involves its own unique factors and circumstances.
The Gonzalez Law Group handles many different kinds of adoption cases. In addition to private adoptions, our firm also assists with stepparent adoptions and other relative adoptions involving grandchildren, nieces, or nephews.
We also assist couples with issues relating to international adoptions involving children from other countries as well as Child Protective Services cases involving children removed from their homes and under the custody of the state. The Gonzalez Law Group also understands the issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning and/or queer (LGBTQ) couples seeking to adopt in Texas, and our firm also handles gestational agreements for assisted reproduction.
Harris County Adoption Resources
Adoption Evaluations | Harris County — Visit this section of the Harris County Domestic Relations Office website to learn more about adoption evaluations. The website discusses adoption evaluation fees and processes. You can also access the questionnaire that must be completed as part of the adoption evaluation process.
Harris County Domestic Relations Office
310 Prairie St.
Houston, TX 77002
Texas Family Code | Chapter 162. Adoption — View the full text of adoption laws in the Texas Family Code. You can find information about the ICPC, adoption services by DFPS, and the adoption of a child. Additional topics covered under this chapter include embryo donation, voluntary adoption registries, and adoption of an adult.
Contact Adoption Attorneys in Houston, TX
Are you hoping to adopt a child in Harris County? You will want to contact The Gonzalez Law Group for help navigating the adoption process in Texas. Our Houston lawyers assist individuals throughout Harris County, Friendswood, Pearland, Seabrook, League City, Deer Park, Pasadena, La Porte, Galena Park, Baytown, and many other communities in Houston.
Call (832) 530-4070 or complete an online contact form to have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.