Do I need an attorney to adopt a child in Texas?

child sitting on bench

Yes. Whether you are a stepmom hoping to adopt your spouse’s son, grandparents seeking to adopt a grandchild or a young couple bringing home a bundle of joy from overseas, hiring an adoption attorney in Texas is a must. Not only can an experienced adoption attorney help you properly navigate the legal ins and outs, he or she can also help simplify the adoption process for you.

Legally terminating parental rights is required before you can adopt

And it usually isn’t easy—especially in the stepparent and grandparent adoption scenarios. One of the biggest advantages experienced adoption attorneys bring to the table is they understand the challenges involved with legally terminating the parental rights of the birth mother and father.

This knowledge and experience is critical because many birth parents, even those who are unfit to parent or support their child, won’t voluntarily relinquish their parental rights. The Texas family courts are also hesitant to interfere with the parent-child relationship unless there is proof that the parent poses a physical or psychological danger to the child.

Keep in mind, as a prospective adoptive parent, the burden is on you to prove that such a threat exists and that terminating those parental rights is in the best interest of the child. An adoption attorney can counsel you regarding what proof you will need to provide and help you determine whether your case is even viable.

Experienced adoption attorneys also understand adoption law

While this may sound obvious, the reason we make this point is that it’s highly unlikely that you as a prospective adoptive parent are an expert in Texas adoption laws. On the other hand, a good adoption attorney understands the many intricacies involved with the law in the county and state where they practice.

For example, reputable Texas adoption attorneys know that timing is essential if you want to increase your chances of a successful termination. They also know they need to do their homework to make sure you have a solid case, so you don’t waste time and money on a case you can’t win.

One important step is to research whether there are any other cases pending in another county or state pertaining to the adoption of that child—such as another grandparent seeking to adopt a grandchild. This is essential information to find out because if you file for a termination and adoption after someone else has filed, that typically leads to void orders, which means your case will be thrown out because another county or state has jurisdiction.

This type of information can be difficult to unearth, especially for cases that are pending in another state. An experienced family law firm that handles adoptions in Texas has the insight, expertise and resources to dig for information you need to successfully adopt, where you probably wouldn’t know where to begin.

A knowledgeable adoption attorney can also prepare you for the hoops you’ll need to jump through

What is in the best interest of the child is paramount in the Texas family courts. If you want to adopt a child, you (and any other people who live in your home) will need to undergo a thorough background check as well as a home study first. Depending on the county where you reside, the court may also appoint an ad litem or amicus attorney to represent the child’s interests.

An experienced adoption attorney can help prepare you for this process, so you know what to expect. He or she can also explain what expenses you will need to pay, and that goes beyond the attorney’s legal fees. You will also be responsible for paying for any fees related to background checks, the home study evaluator, any amicus or ad litem attorney assigned, as well as other specialists and services the judge deems necessary.

Looking for legal advice on adoption in Tarrant County?

The experienced adoption attorneys at the Sisemore Law Firm in Fort Worth are here to help. We understand the complexities involved with terminating parental rights and adopting a grandchild or stepchild in Texas. We will also give you straight, honest advice and let you know up front whether or not your case has merit.

To schedule a confidential and thorough case review with our founder Justin Sisemore, contact our Fort Worth law office at (817) 336-4444 or visit our contact page to connect with the Sisemore Law Firm online.

Photo Source: Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash