Adoption is a journey. To understand adopting a relative, it’s important to know some of the fundamental aspects of the process. Adoption is a major life choice, and many of the regulations are in place to ensure that you can provide a safe and loving home.
There are some basic requirements for adoption in Texas that must be met. To adopt a child, whether a relative or not, the applicant must:
- Be at least 21 years old
- Provide references
- Provide documentation of any marriage or divorce
- Undergo a home study and background check
- Provide a stable home for the child
- Be healthy enough to care for the child
Texas has some of the highest numbers of adoptions in the United States each year. Adults in Texas do not have to be married to adopt, but adults who are married cannot adopt separate from their spouse.
Adopting a Relative in Texas
If a parent is unable to care for their child, a relative can step in to adopt and parent the child. In this way, a family member may take in a grandchild, nephew, niece, cousin, or even sibling to provide them with a safe and loving home.
The decision to adopt a family member can complete your family and restore family bonds. You might hear this type of adoption referred to as “kinship adoption.”
There are several reasons why a child in your family may be available for adoption. When parents have been incarcerated, deemed unfit to care for their children, or have died, relatives may have stepped into the role of parent. However, without a legal adoption, it can be challenging to care for the child.
Adoption allows you to be recognized as the legal parent. This allows you to make medical decisions, enroll the child in school, and make other decisions without having your relationship questioned.
The child also benefits since they may receive inheritance and insurance after adoption. However, one of the most significant benefits for the child and parent is stability. Adoption gives both a sense of permanency and an official bond with a “forever family.”
What Are the Requirements?
In order to complete an adoption of a family member, the biological parent must first have their parental rights terminated. This is done through the court. This step is unnecessary if the parents have died.
It will be necessary to have a home study completed. This will happen even if the child has been living with the adults adopting them. A home study proves to the court that the adoptive parents understand their obligation to the child, have the physical and emotional ability to care for the child, and are ready to legally accept the child into their family.
A home study is completed by a licensed home study agency and can cost up to $1500. If the child is 12 or older, Texas law requires that the child legally consents to the adoption.
Finally, there will be a court hearing to finalize the adoption. If the termination of parental rights is not contested by the parents, you may need only one court hearing to terminate parental rights and finalize the adoption.
How a Lawyer Could Help
In cases when you are not adopting a relative, it is helpful to work with an adoption agency and an adoption attorney to ensure your rights and responsibilities are covered. However, when you are adopting a relative, it is usually necessary to only work with an adoption attorney.
An adoption attorney is a legal professional in family law, often with a specialization in adoption. The main benefit is the solid legal work that ensures that all the procedural requirements are met so that the adoption is secure. While potential adoptive parents are focused on the emotional process to formalize the parental bond, it is also a legal process. The attorney will make sure the adoption meets the legal requirements in Texas, including home study, background checks, and other screening procedures.
Your adoption attorney will prepare the necessary paperwork, counsel you on the ongoing legal proceedings, handle any legal disputes that arise, and attend all court appearances to represent your rights.
Every case is unique. Adopting a family member can have legal and emotional repercussions. Your adoption attorney can help you in this journey and assist you with any additional resources you may need to complete the process.
Contact Hargrave Law, P.C.
If you want to adopt a relative, there are several steps to complete under Texas law. The compassionate and experienced legal team at Hargrave Law, P.C., understands that your story is unique. We take the time to listen and develop a plan to help meet your goals. Call us today at 817-282-0679 or use our online form to schedule a confidential appointment.