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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Adopting a child in Texas

Texas has enacted laws that potential adopters must follow if they wish to become the parent of a child. Because both the potential adopters and the child at the center of the adoption have certain rights, it is recommended that an attorney's advice be sought prior to beginning the process.

Any adult may adopt a child. They do not need to be married, though if they are, the person's spouse will also be added to the adoption petition. The only exception to this is if the spouse is already legally the child's parent. Additionally, any person may be adopted, though the person must provide consent if they are 12 years or older. The person wishing to be adopted must live at the home for six months prior to the finalization of the adoption, although this requirement may be waived in certain circumstances.

While the adoption law in Texas appears to be relatively lax for heterosexual individuals or couples, it can be much more difficult for homosexual couples to adopt a child. Because two individuals of the same sex cannot get married in the state, only one person may become the legal parent of a child. However, it should be noted that courts within the state have ruled inconsistently, so the ability for both parents to legally adopt the child may depend upon the judge who hears the case.

The process of adopting a child can be a long and difficult process. A family law attorney can assist potential adopters by helping to gather and file the needed legal documents, protect their rights in the event that the adoption is contested by the birth parents and assist with stepparent or relative adoptions. The attorney may also help their client avoid potential adoption scams that unfortunately are common.

Source: Findlaw, "Texas Adoption Laws", November 26, 2014

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