There are a handful of Texas adoption laws for prospective parents to consider. When you want to be 100% certain you go through the proper channels, it’s a good idea to partner with a family law attorney.
Adoption is a life-changing process that is very much emotional and personal. Moreover, it involves a complex legal system. That means that hopeful parents have to follow Texas adoption laws and regulations to the letter when they want to bring a new child into the family.
Additionally, as expectant birth parents consider adoption, it’s good for them to understand these laws and their rights. With a good understanding of the laws, you gain an idea of who might adopt your child and how certain laws impact you. For instance, there are laws that cover certain expenses for birth parents.
Do I Need to Work with a Family Attorney?
On both sides of adoption, you have the help of someone who specializes in the process. Still, when you work with a lawyer, you have someone who understands these laws and your rights. With proper guidance and a better understanding of the law, the process feels a bit easier.
Moreover, working with a national adoption agency means you might adopt a child from outside of Texas. In this instance, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the adoption laws of the expectant mother’s state. With a lawyer, you have someone to do the research and boil it down for you.
When you have questions about Texas adoption laws, a family law attorney is your advocate and guide. Below, we explore some of the basics of the domestic adoption laws in Texas. However, if you want to understand how they impact your specific situation, it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation with an attorney in your area.
Who Can Adopt a Child in Texas?
Per Texas adoption laws, any adult in the state has the right to adopt. While this law doesn’t specify a specific minimum or limit on the age of an adopter, specialists and agencies tend to have their own age requirements.
Additionally, there’s no requirement for marriage or partnership to adopt. However, if you are married, one person cannot adopt a child on their own. The process requires that they adopt the child with their spouse.
Furthermore, this also applies to couples who are separated but not legally divorced as well as anyone who wishes to adopt their spouse’s child as a stepparent. For LGBTQ couples, there are no adoption laws in Texas that impact adoption for same-sex couples.
One important factor to remember is the home study. Any prospective parent in Texas must undergo this study in order to adopt. This process includes criminal background checks, interviews, home visits, and more.
While adoption laws allow most people to enter the process, there are individual requirements that specialists and adoption professionals hold. Moreover, there are different rules and requirements for different types of adoption.
- Foster care adoption
To learn more about the requirements of your specific situation, it’s a good idea to work with a specialist and an attorney.
Who Can Be Adopted in Texas?
Before someone can adopt a child in Texas, a minor’s parents have to terminate their parental rights.
When an expectant mother makes an adoption plan with an agency, this qualifies as voluntary termination of parental rights. Per Texas adoption laws, she has to wait a minimum of 48 hours after birth to consent to this. Moreover, two witnesses must sign and verify the consent before someone who is authorized to take oaths.
However, birth fathers have the option to consent to an adoption in Texas at any point. Additionally, Texas adoption laws require adults and children 12 years or older must give their consent when they are adoptees.
Advertising and Texas Adoption Laws
When it comes to adoption, people don’t always think about “advertising.” In this sense, people advertise to help birth parents and prospective families find each other. However, it is illegal in the state of Texas for people to advertise for themselves in regards to adoption.
The state only allows adoption professionals to advertise on behalf of the birth parents and adoptive families. Oftentimes, adoption agencies offer this as part of their services.
When people begin to research adoption, it’s difficult to understand the process. This is because each state has different laws. Whether you work with an agency, specialist, or lawyer, you have different options for your advertising campaign.
However, it’s a good idea to work with an experienced specialist to find the right opportunity for you. When you want to pursue an independent adoption, it is essential that you work closely with an experienced adoption attorney. This ensures you never break a law in your search for a prospective adoptee.
Texas Adoption Laws Regarding Birth Parent Expenses
Across the United States, it is illegal to pay a prospective birth mother in exchange for a child’s placement. However, the adoption laws in Texas allow for hopeful adoptive parents to assist the birth mother with certain expenses. The intent is to ease the financial pressures of both the pregnancy and the adoption plan.
Per Texas adoption laws, here is what an adoptive family is financially responsible for.
- Prenatal, pregnancy, and birth expenses for the birth mother and child
- Reasonable living expenses to support the birth mother during pregnancy (ex. Help with rent, groceries, bills, etc.)
- Attorney fees for the birth parent(s)
Additionally, these adoption laws do not require repayment of these expenses should the birth mother decides to parent the child. However, some agencies have policies in place to protect adoptive parents financially from disrupted adoptions.
Typically, any expenses paid to birth parents are established on a cases-by-cases basis. Moreover, a Texas judge must approve these decisions.
It’s also important to remember that these expenses vary with each case based on individual needs. When you work with a specialist, you can map out a budget and find a birth parent who fits your circumstances.
Payments in Adoptions
One important note is that payments in the form of favors, gifts, or money in exchange for a child’s placement are illegal. As such, it’s important to define in an agreement what adoptive parents are able to cover. When you have an advocate on your side, you have someone to regulate these expenses and ensure all payments are legal.
Still Have Questions About Texas Adoption Laws?
The laws covered in this guide are some of the most essential Texas adoption laws. However, it’s important to keep in mind that adoption is a complex process. Moreover, there are other laws that cover a variety of situations.
That’s why it is so important for prospective birth parents and adoptive parents to work closely with a family law attorney and agency. With the right guidance, you follow the complete legal process for adoption.
To learn more about Texas adoption laws and what applies to your situation, schedule a free consultation with a family law attorney Houston trusts. At Nguyen & Chen, we are a full-service law firm with experience and expertise in an array of legal matters.
Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation with an experienced adoption attorney.