Child Adoption Attorney in Fort Worth, TX

Choosing to expand your loving family through the adoption process should be a reason for celebration. As a full-service Fort Worth family law firm, the adoption attorneys at the Sisemore Law Firm, P.C., help clients safely navigate all legal aspects of adoption to ensure their adoptions comply with state, national, and when applicable, international adoption laws.

Our family adoption attorneys have assisted adoptive parents from Texas, other states and around the world with their private adoption, agency adoption, same-sex adoption, international adoption, stepparent adoption and grandparent adoption needs. Our firm’s family adoption lawyers also provide legal representation for mothers who make the brave decision to relinquish their parental rights and place their children with adoptive parents.

Individuals who want nothing but the best for their adoptive children should seek out an experienced adoption attorney to ensure that the adoption process goes smoothly. If you need an adoption attorney Texas, you can count on the Sisemore Law Firm to work diligently and efficiently to help you complete the necessary legal steps to achieve the adoption outcome you desire.

Private adoption and adoption agency attorneys at your service

Whether you hope to adopt a child who is biologically related to you or your spouse, intend to work with an adoption agency to grow your family or want to adopt a child you have been fostering, you will need an adoption attorney to prepare and file the proper paperwork to ensure the adoption is legal and enforceable.

Our private adoption lawyers can guide you on the potential legal, financial and emotional risks that come with adoption. For example, the state of Texas prohibits prospective parents seeking private adoptions from directly providing any financial compensation to the birth mother beyond medical, legal and counseling expenses. However, the state does allow adoption agencies to provide additional financial compensation to birth mothers (which essentially comes from fees they charge adoptive parents).

You should also be aware that birth mothers are not allowed to formally relinquish their parental rights until a minimum of 48 hours after the child is born. Texas wants to make sure the birth mother has sufficient time to decide whether she wants to relinquish her parental rights and place her child in the care of adoptive parents or not.

Keep in mind, that if the birth mother decides she does NOT want to relinquish her parental rights, she will not be required to reimburse you for any expenses you paid to her during the waiting period.

If you want to adopt a child, it’s important to prepare yourself for these emotional and financial risks. Most adoptions our private adoption attorneys handle do have happy endings but not all.

How the adoption process works in Texas

Prospective parents who want to adopt a child in Texas will need to undergo an intensive home study performed by a social worker. In addition, all members of the household will need to pass criminal background checks. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DPS) also requires  adoptive parents to:

  • Be 21 years of age or older.
  • Be financially stable with the maturity necessary to care for a child’s physical and emotional needs.
  • Provide information about background and lifestyle.
  • Provide references (both relatives and non-relatives).
  • Show proof of marriage or divorce if applicable. (Single people are allowed to adopt in Texas but couples must be married if they want to adopt a child together.)
  • Attend free training sessions about abused and neglected children.

If and when the birth mother agrees to relinquish her parental rights, the adoption attorney can file the appropriate paperwork to terminate her parental rights and name the prospective parents as the child’s legal parents.

Keep in mind, that the state of Texas typically requires several post-placement social worker visits as the final part of the home study. If the parents pass this “test” their adoption attorney can proceed to file the final adoption documents, which a judge will need to sign off on in order to complete the adoption process.

What to expect when working with an adoption agency in Texas

If you need help finding a birth mother, your next step is to find an adoption agency to assist with the process. There are a wide variety of adoption agencies available to help you with your search. For example, some specialize in international adoptions while others focus on local or interstate adoptions.

Not sure where to begin? Your Texas adoption lawyer can provide recommendations. You’ll also find that adoption agency costs and services vary. Some will require a sizeable fee upfront, while others offer installment plans. Either way, you can expect to pay several thousands of dollars to adopt a child through an adoption agency.

IMPORTANT: Before you sign a contract with any adoption agency be sure to have an adoption attorney review the paperwork. While most adoption agencies are on the up and up, there are some bad actors out there, so don’t risk it.

Reputable adoption agencies do a terrific job guiding prospective parents (and birth mothers) through the adoption process. Once they set up a profile for you in their system, you’ll be able to review birth mother profiles and learn more about their backgrounds and vice versa.

Adoption agencies can also facilitate the required home study, background checks and counseling for both the prospective parents and birth mother. In addition, they will help make arrangements regarding what you will be paying for the birth mother’s expenses.

Can adoption lawyers help same-sex couples adopt in Texas?

While it used to be very difficult for same-sex couples (or gay or lesbian individuals) to adopt a child in Texas, the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015 eventually cleared the way for adoption for gay couples and individuals in the state.

That being said, some adoption agencies (typically those with certain religious affiliations) still won’t work with gay couples. In addition, some jurisdictions in Texas make it easier for same-sex couples to adopt than others.

Consequently, it is critical to hire an adoption attorney who understands the intricacies of gay adoption, as well as which judges and jurisdictions are most supportive in helping gay couples realize their dreams for adoption.

The Sisemore Law Firm has been helping same-sex couples adopt since gay marriage was legalized, so gay couples and individuals can rely on an adoption agency attorney on our team to skillfully and compassionately guide them through the process.

How our adoption attorneys help grandparents and stepparents adopt

When an individual wishes to legally adopt a grandchild or a spouse’s children from a previous marriage, he or she will be required to go through much the same process as other private adoptions. 

However, a frequent concern stepparents and grandparents have is whether they will be able to convince the child’s other birth parent to consent to the adoption. While consent is typically required for stepparent and grandparent adoptions, courts can and do waive this requirement when certain conditions are met.

For example, if the child’s other birth parent does not pay required child support, is imprisoned or has otherwise abandoned the child, we can help you obtain a waiver of this requirement and terminate the other parent’s parental rights so the adoption process can proceed.

Many stepparents and grandparents ask, “Do I need to hire an attorney to adopt a child in Texas?” The short answer is: Yes! It’s even more important to hire a family law attorney experienced in adoption law and handling the intricacies involved with adopting a stepchild or grandchild.

Adoption can be tricky for a number of reasons. First, you can’t adopt your spouse’s child or a grandchild unless the biological parent’s parental rights have been legally terminated. The burden will also be on you to prove the parent is unfit or unwilling to parent the child. Experienced lawyers for adoption know what evidence you need to prove your claims and whether your case will be viable in the eyes of the law.

Second, experienced adoption lawyers know that timing is essential during the adoption process, especially if the biological parent is unwilling to relinquish parental rights. For example, say you believe the parent is abusing drugs. In Texas, you need to file to terminate parental rights as soon as you realize egregious behavior is occurring, otherwise, the state may rule you don’t have standing (the right) to file a lawsuit in your case.

Be prepared: Adopting a stepchild or grandchild in Texas takes time and money

The state of Texas places a high priority on doing what is in the best interest of the child. Texas doesn’t like to separate children from their parents when possible, which means the state doesn’t take adoption lightly.

If you hope to adopt a stepchild or grandchild in Texas, you’ll need to be thoroughly vetted. Background checks, family interviews and home studies all take time, so keep that in mind as you set the wheels in motion to adopt.

It will also be your responsibility to pay for any background checks or home studies the judge orders. In addition, the judge may require that an amicus or ad litem attorney be assigned to the case to help determine whether the adoption is in the best interest of the child. Again, you will be responsible for paying the amicus or ad litem attorney’s fees, as well as adoption attorney fees.

Contact us for a consultation

Adoption can get complicated. If you have questions about adoption in Texas, our Texas adoption lawyers are here to help. To schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced adoption lawyer at our firm, call our Fort Worth office at (817) 336-4444 or connect with us online.

Contact Us For A Consultation

There are many other factors and requirements that can significantly delay an adoption. We are here to assist you with your legal needs every step of the way. For a consultation with an experienced adoption lawyer, email us or call our Fort Worth office at (817) 336-4444.