If you are considering a legal adoption in Texas, you may wonder, “Where can I find an adoption lawyer near me?” We’re glad you asked because our family law office is here to provide you with exceptional legal support during an adoption.
Learn why it’s important to work with an attorney during an adoption and how our experienced team at Parker & Aguilar can support your case.
Why You Need a Family Law Attorney for Adoptions in Texas
The adoption process can be long and grueling in Texas. The National Adoption Foundation reports that those who are looking to adopt a child from foster care can expect the process to take six to 18 months to complete.
And to adopt a newborn child, that wait extends to between 2-7 years. International adoptions can take even longer. This is where having a skilled and experienced lawyer comes into play to help shorten the timeline for various types of adoption you are looking to complete.
An adoption lawyer from Parker & Aguilar can help you navigate the process of adoption as quickly as possible to support your family’s goals.
Why Adoption Can Take a Long Time to Complete
A legal adoption process creates a formally recognized parental relationship between a child and one or more adults where there was no such relationship before. This can be a lengthy process in Texas, with many steps involved.
Initial Considerations and Paperwork
Your attorney begins by filing a legal petition, as well as any related applications and paperwork. These legal documents signal your intent to adopt a child and must be filled out completely and accurately. Mistakes can cause delays in the process, but our attorneys make sure your forms are filled out correctly.
Also, there are many factors to consider at this stage. For example, you will need to decide whether you want to pursue an open or closed adoption.
With an open adoption, you leave the possibility open of communicating with the child’s birth parents in the future. Conversely, with a closed adoption, there will be little to no direct contact between the adoptive and birth parents.
These and other considerations need to be made upfront. The exact process for completing your adoption will depend on the choices you make at this initial stage.
Termination of Parental Rights
The parental rights of one or both of the child’s biological parents must be terminated before an adoption can proceed. This termination severs the legal obligations and rights the child’s birth parents have to the child. The birth parents may relinquish — or voluntarily give up — their parental rights and allow their child to be adopted.
Otherwise, the birth parents’ rights will need to be involuntarily severed at a court proceeding. At this hearing, a court will receive evidence and testimony and decide whether it is in the child’s best interests to terminate the parental rights of the biological parent(s).
Scheduling, preparing for, and conducting such a hearing can take considerable time. This vital step adds to the length of time it takes to finalize your adoption.
Without the birth parents’ parental rights being terminated, your adoption will not proceed. Working with an attorney will ensure that parental rights are properly relinquished or terminated so that you can proceed with the adoption according to the guidelines in the Texas Family Code.
Home Studies and Background Checks
A home study, also called a Pre-Adoptive Home Screening, may be required. This is an in-depth interview and assessment of prospective adoptive parents and their home environment. Some of the issues touched on during a typical home study include:
- Other family members in the house and your relationship with those family members
- Your ability to understand and appreciate different cultures and backgrounds
- Health conditions that might impact your ability to care for your adoptive child
- The overall condition of your home and its safety for children
Background checks will be conducted on the adoptive parents and anyone else over the age of 14 who lives in the home. This check could include an FBI fingerprint check, a criminal records check, and a check against the central registry for registered offenders.
Adoption Lawyer Near Me: Parker & Aguilar Fits the Bill
To find a seasoned adoption lawyer near me, look no further than our family law firm. We are highly experienced with adoption cases, and we focus on providing compassionate legal help throughout the duration of the adoption process.
Our adoption attorneys ensure each form is correct and complete, and we will work to make the process as simple and efficient as possible. Plus, our founding attorney, Blair Parker, is a proud child of adoption, making our firm extremely passionate about adoption cases in Texas.
We proudly serve families in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Matagorda County. If you live in one of these counties, contact our offices to discuss your adoption case.
You can reach us at 979-267-7660 (Angleton office) or 281-944-5485 (Sugar Land office) to speak with a helpful and caring attorney. Let’s get to work on clearing legal issues on the path to growing your family.