Adoption is the legal process that creates a permanent parent-child relationship, awarding the parent or parents who are adopting the same legal rights as if the child being adopted was born to you. This means the parent-child relationship is established for all purposes, such as inheritance rights, the obligation for financial support, and general liability that comes with the responsibility of being a parent.
Generally speaking, most of the adoptions we represent in our office are “uncontested” or “agreed adoptions” and are usually step-parent or grandparent adoptions. This means that all of the parties have agreed that the adoption is in the best interest of the minor child (or children), the biological parents (or acknowledged father) have signed affidavits of relinquishments, and have given consent to allow the adoptive parents to go forward.
The Stepchild or Grandchild Adoption Process:
In general, adopting a stepchild or grandchild requires the voluntary termination of parental rights, an in-home study, and an FBI background check. Depending on the nature of each case, the court may order additional actions as well. The in-home study and background check are intended to uncover any potential problems that could pose a threat to the well-being of a child.
While a criminal record will not automatically prevent someone from adopting their stepchild or grandchild, the court may order more investigation before approving an adoption. Here, the nature of a criminal offense and the age of the child in question will play a role in determining what course of action that court chooses.
Of course, adoptions are not always by agreement. Under these circumstances, a trial is required first seeking involuntary termination of the biological parent’s rights prior to proceeding with the adoption. There are many grounds available for involuntary termination of a parent’s rights and these should be carefully studied and evaluated to determine if your circumstances qualify. The typical grounds being the parent has failed to adequately provide financial support according to their means for a period of 1 year or more or what are known as “emotional well-being” and “endangerment” grounds. These can all be thoroughly discussed during your consultation.
At times, the court may also require an attorney “ad litem,” either to represent the child’s interest during the proceeding or that of a parent whose rights are being terminated. There are costs involved with both and should be carefully evaluated during your consultation with our adoption attorney. We will explain to you specifically what their roles are, estimations of time, and the costs involved.
Contact Our Adoption Lawyer in Austin, TX
If you need an adoption lawyer in Austin, Tobie Kuykendall is here to represent you. Get legal help for your adoption today.