23 Jan What is the first step in an adoption?
The first step in a stepparent or grandparent adoption is terminating the parental rights of the biological father or mother, or both. A stepparent adoption requires one termination, that of the biological parent that the stepparent will be assuming their role. A grandparent adoption, however, requires termination of both biological parents. In Texas, a child can only have two parents. I would say a child can only have a mother and father, but with the legalization of gay marriages, these definitions are no longer appropriate.
There a basically two way in which termination can be attempted:
- When the biological parent whose rights are being terminated signs a “Voluntary Relinquishment of Parental Rights”; or
- After a hearing or trial before a Court and the Court terminates the biological parents parental rights.
You will notice I said “attempted” in regards to the termination. In all termination cases the Court must find that the termination (and subsequent adoption if there is one) is in the best interest of the child. Just because a parent signs a Voluntary Relinquishment of Parental Rights does not automatically mean that the termination will be granted. The Court must still find that the termination is in the best interest of the child.
In later articles I will discuss some of the grounds for terminations in Texas; how the parents are notified of the suit; and the typical steps in a termination and adoption.
If you would like to schedule a meeting to discuss your potential termination/adoption case, contact us via one of the methods on the right and schedule a consultation. We charge $150 for a consult, and will provide you with all the information you need to understand the process.