Austin Adoption Attorneys
Expanding your family through adoption can be an exciting and rewarding process that could finally make your family feel complete. However, navigating the legal process of adoption can be challenging, and success is not guaranteed.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. An experienced Austin adoption attorney can help ensure your experience goes smoothly and get you the best outcome.
Contact a Texas adoption attorney with Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., if you are considering adoption. For over 50 years, our lawyers have provided legal help to thousands of individuals and families in Austin and throughout Texas. Our team is committed to advocating for and protecting our clients’ rights while providing compassionate service.
Contact our Austin adoption lawyers to get started with a free, confidential case review.
How Our Austin Adoption Lawyers Can Help You
The adoption process can sometimes be complex and challenging, and no two cases are alike. That’s why it’s in your best interest to hire a lawyer with deep knowledge of the adoption laws.
Since 1963, the legal team at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., has successfully represented clients in various areas of family law. If you hire our Austin adoption lawyers, we can help you by answering your questions, explaining what to expect during the adoption process, and guiding you throughout your case.
Preparing to adopt a child involves planning for potential obstacles that can delay or stop adoption proceedings. Our lawyers can help you by:
- Drafting and filing a petition to adopt in the family court
- Obtaining a termination of parental rights from the biological parent or parents if you are adopting a stepchild or grandchild
- Preparing you for a home or social study, if the court orders one, to determine your fitness as a parent
- Communicating with the adoption agency on your behalf
- Assisting with arrangements if you are adopting directly from the birth parents
- Ensuring you fulfill the adoption requirements of the country from which you are adopting in the case of an international adoption
- Working with you to determine whether guardianship or adoption is best for you in Texas
- Preparing a response in case a biological parent petitions for their parental rights or a birth parent who voluntarily terminated their parental rights (via an open adoption or a closed adoption) tries to contact your adopted child
Areas of Adoption Law We Can Help You In
Because we have over 50 years of experience in family law, our legal team is prepared to help you with various areas of adoption law. In particular, we have experience assisting clients in the following areas:
- Grandparent Adoption and Relative Adoption – A grandparent or another blood relative already parenting a child may need help adopting within the family. This process can be complex, as it often involves terminating the parental rights of the biological parent or parents.
- Step-Parent Adoption – Sometimes, a biological parent’s duties decrease, and a step-parent takes over the caretaker role. A step-parent can petition a Texas court for their stepchild’s adoption. However, before proceeding, terminating the rights of one parent will be necessary if both biological parents are alive.
- Second-Parent Adoption or LGBTQ+ Adoption – A second-parent adoption is an option available to couples in the LGBTQ+ community who are not married if one partner has a child. Additionally, a same-sex couple can jointly adopt the same child, but only after six months have passed since finalizing the first adoption.
- Texas and Interstate Agency Adoption – Adoption agencies sometimes recommend their own attorney, but you can choose who represents you. An Austin adoption lawyer from Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., can represent you even if the adoption agency is located outside Texas. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) will apply in some interstate adoptions. An attorney can help you follow the ICPC rules.
- Independent Adoption – An independent adoption involves adopting a child without the help of an agency. These adoptions can be complex if one biological parent is unsure about the adoption or changes their mind, which is why it’s essential to have an attorney on your side.
- Contested Adoption – It might make sense to pursue adoption after taking care of someone’s child for an extended period. However, a contested adoption occurs when one or both biological parents will not give up their parental rights. An attorney can ensure that the rights of the child and the adoptive parent are protected in this case.
- International Adoption – Adopting a child from another country can be legally complex because you must comply with state international laws.
- CPS Adoption and Foster Care Adoption – It’s possible to legally adopt a foster child or adopt directly from CPS. Legal representation is vital in this process, given the bureaucratic obstacles that can arise.
Who Can Adopt in Texas?
The requirements for adopting in Texas vary depending on whether you pursue an international adoption, agency adoption, or foster care adoption. In general, to adopt in Texas, you must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have references
- Submit to and pass a child abuse clearance and criminal background check
- Be financially stable
- Pass a home study
- Provide information regarding your background and lifestyle
Same-sex couple adoptions are legal in Texas and throughout the United States. However, some faith-based organizations choose not to work with same-sex couples pursuing adoption. In general, state law cannot prohibit these organizations from doing so. You may need to pursue adoption outside of a faith-based organization if you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
The Adoption Process
The adoption process can be confusing and time-consuming, but it is worth adding a new member to your family. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. An experienced adoption attorney can help you navigate the legal process. The steps included in adopting a child in Texas are:
- Filing a petition – An attorney can help you prepare and file a petition to adopt in the appropriate family court.
- Terminating parental rights – In some cases, the biological parent or parents of the child may need to terminate their parental rights before you can proceed with the adoption. The family court must issue a ruling based on the child’s best interests. Voluntary termination allows biological parents to give up their parental rights legally. Involuntary termination occurs when the biological parent isn’t fit to raise their child due to abandonment, abuse, or neglect.
- Completing a home study – Once parental rights are terminated, the court may order a home study. A home study involves a representative confirming that the prospective parents meet the criteria for adoption, including adequate space for a new child, finances to provide proper care, and a safe environment.
- Reviewing and finalizing the adoption – A third party will review the necessary paperwork and the home study results to determine if the adoption is in the child’s best interests. The third party will then make a recommendation to the court to finalize the adoption.
How to Adopt a Stepchild in Texas
The process of adopting a stepchild in Texas is similar to other types of adoption. However, the prospective step-parent must meet the requirements of a social study instead of a home study. The procedure for adopting a stepchild in Texas includes:
- Filing a petition – First, your attorney must prepare and file a petition with the family court.
- Terminating the parental rights of one biological parent – Because there cannot be three legal parents for one child, one child’s birth parents must terminate their parental rights. This can be done through voluntary or involuntary termination.
- Completing a social study – A social study evaluator will interview each party involved, including the child to be adopted, and visit the home to determine if it’s a safe environment for the child. They will conduct employment, criminal, and other background checks and report their findings to the court.
- Determining the child’s best interests – The court will appoint an amicus or third-party attorney to determine if adoption is in the child’s best interests.
Once the steps are complete, the family court judge will hold a hearing to issue their decision based on the evaluator’s and third-party attorney’s recommendations.
Can Gay Couples Adopt in Texas?
Yes, gay couples can adopt in Texas. Adoption among gay couples has been legal in the United States since the U.S. Supreme Court recognized same-sex marriage in 2015. However, gay couples can still face hurdles when pursuing adoption in Texas, and an experienced adoption attorney who knows the laws and requirements can help.
What Are the Residency Requirements for Adoption in Texas?
In Texas, an adoption cannot be finalized until the child lives with the prospective parent or parents for at least six months. However, the court can waive the residency requirement if it’s in the child’s best interest.
Reach Out to Our Austin Adoption Lawyers for Help Now
At Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., we believe you deserve the chance to expand your family through adoption, and every child deserves a loving home. Our experienced Austin adoption lawyers have the knowledge, resources, and skill to make the adoption process go as smoothly as possible. Our award-winning legal team has earned a reputation for hard work, dedication, and successful case results. Contact our office for a free, confidential consultation.