Termination & Adoptions Lawyer
Parental rights are a serious responsibility and any alteration to such rights will require a legal process that can either be quick and painless or long and complex depending on your case.
Termination and adoptions typically refer to the process of terminating parental rights from the child’s biological parents, followed by an adoption process. Both termination of parental rights and adoptions are no light matter and can quickly become emotionally draining legal battles for everyone involved.
If you are considering termination of parental rights or adoption for you and your family, an experienced family law lawyer at The Farias Law Firm can guide you through the process. Our lawyers are well versed in the Texas Family Code, and can help you navigate any legal changes to your parental rights while maintaining that you and your family’s best interests are being taken into consideration.
Whether you have questions about the termination of parental rights, an adoption proceeding, or both, our law firm is available to discuss your case and identify the best path for moving forward.
To speak with one of our Texas family law lawyers today, call 713-364-3942.
Termination of Parental Rights in Texas
Termination of parental rights, also known as TPR, is a binding legal process that permanently ends both the rights and responsibilities of the biological parent. Following termination of parental rights, that parent no longer has the legal right to decide on the child’s care, custody matters, or visitation, and in the eye of the law is no longer seen as legally tied to the child.
Parental rights can either be voluntarily terminated by the current parent or can be prompted by the state or a third party to protect the best interests of the child. The reason for termination of parental rights is unique to each case but typically stems from some form of neglect, abuse, abandonment, or failure to support the child.
In Texas, termination of parental rights cases are usually heard in the district court where the child lives. A court will assign an attorney to represent the child’s best interest, and can also assign a guardian for the child while a case is in process.
Regardless if you are a parent facing TPR, or a third party fighting for termination of parental rights, these cases can become tricky and seriously challenging. Working with a skilled family lawyer is the best way to ensure your rights are being defended and you present the strongest case possible to the court.
In the case that you are a prospective adoptive parent, an experienced adoption attorney can make sure that you meet all legal requirements and your adoption process goes smoothly as possible.
What Happens After Parental Rights Are Terminated?
As mentioned before, the removal of parental rights means that the parents lose all legal rights and responsibilities for the child, including all decisions made about child care, child custody, and visitations. Termination of parental rights also removes the responsibility to financially support a child or pay child support.
Following the termination of a person’s parental rights, the child is now legally available for adoption by someone else. An adoption process involves a thorough evaluation of the potential adoptive family, which ensures that an adoptive family can provide a safe and loving home for the child.
If a child is not going to be directly adopted, they are commonly placed in the care of the state or a relative who is willing and able to care for them.
Termination of parental rights is a serious legal matter that can hugely affect a child’s life and well-being. In Texas, termination proceedings have strict conditions and all parents are entitled to due process and an opportunity to contest the termination of their parental rights.
Who Can File for Termination of Parental Rights?
Under Texas law, several parties can file for termination of parental rights, including:
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS): If a child has been in foster care for an extended period, usually up to 12 months, and it is determined that reuniting the child with their parents is not in the best interest of the child, the Department of Family Services can file for termination of parental rights.
The Other Parent – If there is convincing evidence of neglect, abuse, or abandonment from one parent, the other parent can file to terminate parental rights.
A Prospective Adoptive Parent – If adoption has been granted, an adoptive parent can file to terminate parental rights.
Along with these entities, foster parents, a close relative, a temporary guardian or guardian ad litem, a long-term caretaker, a managing conservator, and licensed child placement agencies are all eligible to file for termination of parental rights.
The process of parental right termination can start at any point after a child is born. The time restraints for filing TPR are dependent on the type of case, who is filing, and the reasons for filing. If you are unsure if you qualify to file for termination of parental rights, speak with a family law lawyer to clear your doubts and determine your best options.
Adoption in Texas
Adoption is a legal process where an individual or couple becomes the legal parent(s) of a child who is not biologically theirs. This is a permanent legal relationship between adoptive parents and a child and typically relinquishes the rights and responsibilities of the child’s biological parent or previous legal guardian.
In Texas, there are two main methods of adoption; agency adoption and private adoption. Through an agency adoption, a licensed adoption agency will manage the entire adoption process. Whereas a private adoption is done directly with an adoptive family and the birth parents or legal guardian. Both types of adoption require court approval before being finalized.
Who Can Adopt a Child in Texas?
There are many legal requirements for adoption in Texas, and it’s important to understand if you are eligible for this process before proceeding.
Adoption qualifications extend to financial stability, good moral character, background check, correctly filed adoption application, as well as attending a court hearing to determine your suitability to adopt. Along with these general legal requirements, adoption agencies can have further conditions to adopt depending on the child and the prospective adoptive parents.
In Texas, both same-sex and opposite-sex couples are allowed to adopt, along with second-parent adoptions where a person can adopt their partner’s child without terminating the parental rights of the biological parent.
Is the Termination of Parental Rights Required to Adopt in Texas?
Most adoptions require the termination of the parental rights of a minor child before they can be finalized. Unless it is a second-parent adoption, then the parental rights are extended to another individual rather than terminated.
To process an adoption, adoption agencies must acquire either written consent from the biological parents or must prove in court that the parent’s rights should be terminated. In a private adoption, it is typical that the biological parents give voluntary termination of their parental rights.
What Is Considered the “Best Interests of the Child”?
The best interests of a child are the legal standards used by the court to decide any legal disputes regarding children, especially adoptions.
To gain a sense of what a child’s best interests are, a court might conduct interviews with both the child and adoptive parents, observe the child in different home settings, assess the relationship between the child and prospective adoptive parents, evaluate the home, run background checks, and review any relevant information towards the “suitability” of the adoptive parents.
Consult With a Family Lawyer Today
If you are facing any legal matter related to family law or adoption, we encourage you to reach out to our legal team at The Farias Law Firm. Our lawyer can provide you with expert guidance when navigating any family law issues, especially termination of parental rights and adoption proceedings.
We know how emotionally charged cases involving parental rights can be, and our law firm is not only available to ensure all your paperwork is filed properly and your case is strong as possible, but here to support you throughout this challenging process.
Discuss your case with one of our lawyers today to figure out your potential next steps and how you can best defend you and your family’s rights. Call 713-364-3942.