Termination & Adoption Attorney in Waco, Texas
An adoption is a joyful event for the child and the new family. But the process itself can be complex or overwhelming. We can guide you successfully through the adoption process so that you can focus on building your family. Contact us for help with:
Agency or private adoptions
Petitions terminating parental rights
Foreign or domestic adoptions
Adoption by a single or unmarried person
When a child is adopted, they become the legal child of the adoptive parent(s). The adoptive parents will have all the rights and responsibilities of biological parents.
In order to adopt a child, you must be 21 and financially stable – and in the adoption proceeding, most courts will order a home study. A home study aims to evaluate whether your home environment is suitable for the addition of a child.
Several other requirements also need to be met, including:
Consent of a child over the age of 12
If a married couple is adopting, the consent of both spouses
A 6-month period where the child lives with the proposed adoptive parent(s) before the court enters an order finalizing the adoption.
Once all requirements are met, including terminations of the biological parent’s parental rights, a judge will hear the final case and approve the adoption.
Termination of Parental Rights
Because a child can only have one set of legal parents, the first step to adoption is the proper termination of the biological parent’s parental rights.
Only a court order can terminate parental rights. Termination ends the legal relationship between the parent and child and is generally required before the child is eligible for adoption.
Termination can occur voluntarily or involuntarily.
Voluntarily: The biological parent(s) may voluntarily agree to terminate their parental rights to the child. For example, a parent can sign an affidavit to relinquish parental rights and once this affidavit is approved by the court, the court can then terminate that parent’s rights.
Involuntarily: Alternatively, the court may involuntarily terminate parental rights. For example, where the parent has placed the child in danger (this danger is specifically defined in the Texas Family Code), is engaged in criminal conduct, or abandoned or failed to support the child.
You may file a petition for adoption with a petition for termination.