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Texas Adoption FAQ

Q: How Long Does Adoption Take in Texas?

The length of the adoption process varies depending on a variety of factors, such as the type of adoption you choose and how open you are to different situations. Adopting couples in Texas either have a private domestic infant adoption or a foster care adoption. Generally, private domestic adoptions are completed within an average wait time of 12 months. Due to the unknowns regarding availability with foster care adoption, timelines are up in the air. However, couples who had a foster child placed in their homes waited on average between 6 to 12 months for adoption finalization.

Q: Uncontested vs Contested Adoptions – What’s the Difference?

Uncontested adoptions occur when biological parents willingly consent to an adoption or if a biological parent cannot be located, is declared an unfit parent, or is not regularly involved in the child’s life.

By contrast, contested adoptions occur when one parent wishes to place their child for adoption and the other wishes to retain parental rights. Contested adoptions can occur with infant adoptions, after a divorce, or during a state-initiated welfare adoption.

Using an adoption attorney may reduce the risk of a contested adoption by ensuring thorough research and preparation before proceedings begin. If an adoption becomes contested, a family law attorney with a background in adoption law can guide you through the additional hearings and court appearances that will be required.

Q: What Does an Adoption Lawyer Do?

Adoption lawyers are responsible for protecting the rights of everyone involved in the adoption process (birth parents, adoptive parents, adoptees) and for ensuring that an adoption complies with all state, federal, and international laws.

An adoption attorney will file legal documents, assist in file preparation, make court appearances, and manage legal timelines–tasks critically important in contested or complex adoptions.

Adoption attorneys do not identify potential adoptees or do the job of social workers, like complete home studies, or provide counseling/therapy services.

Q: Private Adoption in Texas – What Does it Involve?

Adoption involves complex legal issues. Things to consider include:

  • How and where the biological parent’s parental rights will come to an end
  • When and where to file for adoption
  • What expenses can legally be paid to the birth mother
  • For a child born outside of Texas, how to comply with that state’s adoption laws as well as Texas law

You want to understand your rights and obligations while you have possession of the child and before the adoption is final.

Q: Is It Easier for Relatives to Adopt Children than Non-Relatives?

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services recognizes that relatives who have already played a significant role in the lives of children can often provide the best homes for them. Even though the process differs from other adoptions, full investigation and regular follow-up are required to ensure that a home meets the best interests of the children.

Q: Now That the Laws Have Changed Regarding Same-Sex Marriages, Do Same-Sex Couples Have an Easier Time Adopting Children?

Although marriage equality is real, the laws and forms pertaining to same-sex adoptions are lagging. Changes are expected to come in the future.  It is best to work with an experienced attorney to help ensure the rights of the all parents and the children to ensure all are fully protected under Texas law.

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