While the legal process for adoption in Texas has become easier in recent years, strict guidelines still exist and must be followed. Despite some similarities and contrary to popular opinion, it is not the same as a “child custody proceeding,” though such standards for child custody, known under Texas law as conservatorship, will usually apply in a termination proceeding.
Adoption Restrictions in Texas
With the only exceptions being fees paid to a child-placing agency as authorized by Texas law, fees paid to an attorney or physician for services rendered in the usual course of practice, or a reimbursement of legal or medical expenses incurred for the child’s benefit, Texas law considers it is a third-degree felony for any person to accept, offer to accept, or agree to accept a thing of value for the delivery of a child under eighteen (18) years of age to another or for possession of a child under eighteen (18) years of age by another for purpose of adoption or for a person to give, offer to give, or agree to give a thing of value to another for acquiring or maintaining the possession of a child under eighteen (18) years of age for the purpose of adoption. A person who is not the natural or adoptive parent of the child, the legal guardian of the child, or a licensed child-placing agency commits a Class B misdemeanor under Texas law if that person serves as an intermediary between a prospective adoptive parent and the expectant parent(s) to identify the parties to each other or places the child for adoption. No person may legally operate a child-placing agency in Texas unless duly licensed. Texas law also provides for civil penalties in addition to criminal penalties.
Stepparent Adoption in Texas
Stepparent adoptions usually require the cooperation of the biological parent whose rights are to be terminated. Petitions for termination and adoption are often combined because the Texas law six-month residency requirement is already met. But, even if the legal grounds for such an adoption are plead and clearly proven, the court still has the legal discretion under Texas law to deny the adoption based on a child’s “best interest.” If you are unable to garner the cooperation of the opposing party and you believe that it is in the child’s best interest to be or not be adopted, you will need the experience of a family law attorney who has been involved in such contested cases to protect your rights and the child’s rights.
Our firm has served the Dallas area for over 40 years, and attorney Jerry W. Melton is Board Certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. We have the resources to answer all of your questions concerning adoption and the qualifications to present a strong case for you. Please fill out our form online or call 972-980-8000 today to schedule a free consultation.